VIDEO: City of Rainsville to begin cleanup of “unauthorized dump”
July 5, 2017
Southern Torch (3790 articles)
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VIDEO: City of Rainsville to begin cleanup of “unauthorized dump”

PHOTO: The “unauthorized dump” is located next to the the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).  (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Video of the Workshop and Meeting at the Bottom) During Monday’s pre-holiday council meeting, the Rainsville Mayor and Council began the process to clean up an unauthorized dump near the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) after the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) investigated a complaint.

However, in the workshop, Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt described the situation a little differently: “We’ve got a piece of property down at the Waste Water Treatment Plant that’s got to be cleaned; it’s got some debris on it,” began Lingerfelt.

The mayor then explained the work was to create a space for the city’s dumpsters: “It’s got some stuff on it that needs to be hauled off. So I was going to hire Jerry Hartline to come in and clean this piece of property off for us, and get it ready to put chert back on it so we can store our four yard, eight yard, and roll-off dumpsters. That’s going to be a good spot to put them down there out of the way. And this is a good time to do this. So I’ll be bringing that up to let me be able to get them to do that job.”

Here is the real reason for the work: 

During the regular meeting, the story changed, but not until after Councilman Marshall Stiefel asked what the ADEM inspection found.

The mayor began to make the motion: “The first thing is the excavation work down at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to prepare a place for the dumpsters. It’s some cleanup we’ve got to do, and we’re going to turn right around and put some chert back on top of it. We’re hoping this is going to be under, the whole thing for $15,000, so that’s what we are pushing for, is keeping it under the bid laws. And if it gets close to the bid law, we’re just going to stop it and bid the rest of it out.”

“What did ADEM find? What was found?” asked Stiefel.

“There was some trash burnt down there and there were some tree limbs burnt down there. Over a period of four or five years. This has been going on for a while….,” said the mayor.

“19 years,” then said Taheri.

“Longer than I thought then. Maybe down the years people knew about this, but I didn’t, until I took over. I got the letter on it, so we stopped it. We’re cleaning it up, and we’re going to make something positive out of that piece of property,” said the mayor.

“Well was they burning…. it seems to me if there was just people burning brush, it wouldn’t have been,” said Stiefel.

“There was trash in it too, Marshall,” said Freeman.

“Someone cut the lock off it Marshall,” said Byrum.

“Was it us?” Stiefel then asked.

“Well this is something I feel like we need to be transparent about,” Stiefel then said.

“You go down there and look at it,” said Byrum to Stiefel.

“It was some trash that was put down there by somebody and set afire. We’re going to clean it up and that’s the main thing,” said Mayor Lingerfelt.

“But we’re not going to burn anything else?” Stiefel then asked.

“If you go down there and burn something, then you’ll be prosecuted. Is that clear?” said the mayor.

“That’s clear,” answered Stiefel.

The council then approved the cleanup. After the meeting, we reached out to ADEM, who had a slightly different story. According to ADEM spokeswoman Lynn Battle, the waste was a little more than “tree limbs” with “trash” in it.

“The materials that were dumped were household, construction, and demolition type waste,” explained Battle.

When asked how long they thought the illegal dumping had been carried out, Battle replied, “Based on the information gathered during the inspection they were unable to make that determination.”

Battle then explained that no fine or cleanup fee had been assessed, as the city was currently complying.

“From what I understand the city submitted a site closure plan, for that area, and are looking to cleanup the site, so ADEM did not assess a cleanup fee or a fine. Enforcement is used a tool to ensure compliance,” explained Battle.

When asked if it appears to be caused by private citizens or the city, Battles said, “It appears that it was caused by the city.”

Watch Full Video of the Workshop: 

Watch Full Video of the Meeting: 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


  1. Sonjia Pittman
    Sonjia Pittman July 05, 23:06
    I think Rainsville residents are already seeing and feeling how things are handled by our mayor and his sidekicks (councilman Marshall Stiefel is not included in this group) In fact, Marshall Stiefel is definitely not one of the mayor's sidekicks. I know him to be extremely honest, hard working, sincerely interested about the present and future of Rainsville,and everything else you would expect from an elected official. He has no hidden agenda and is always read to listen to and speak with Rainsville residents. While Marshall was knocking on doors and talking to residents prior to the last election, others were telling anyone who would listen to them negative and false information about other candidates. Every Rainsville resident who is able should attend the city council workshops and meetings. This will give you first hand information of how the mayor and his side kicks operate. You can expect unprofessional and rude behavior with inappropriate remarks on the part of the mayor and city council members. You can watch them whisper to each other, nudge each other and giggle or laugh while the meeting is in process.The workshop part of the meeting is for residents to be able to speak or ask questions. Number one rule which has quickly become par for the course from these officials is "DON'T" ask them any questions about anything. You will be told, usually with total disdain, or outright hostility,something that is totally false, or inaccurate at best, The answers the mayor and city council do give are very elaborate, mixed with information that may or may not be true,while talking or using terms that are not always familiar to residents. That's it, you got your answer, what's next ? They are DONE with you and your pesky questions.They also talk down to residents who dare speak and will try their best to make you feel embarrassed or unknowledgable about anything. Good example, Bejan Teheri, at a recent city council meeting asked me, while I was speaking about getting our street paved, asked me if I was an engineer, implying that I needed to be an engineer to speak or ask questions. Is Mr.Teheri an engineer ? I happen to know that he is not but that does not stop him from telling residents that he is or from freely giving out inaccurate or dishonest information. Rudeness, dishonesty and sarcasm are Mr. Teheri's speciality. Also, if Mr. Teheri makes a motion, regardless of how inappropriate or unprofessional it may be, he simply nudges Ricky Byrum and without even looking up, Byrum will second the motion. I am sorry to say that our mayor and city council (Marshall Stiefel excepted) are drunk with power and are getting loans and spending money as fast as possible. Does it bother anyone else that the repair bill on the clock in front of city hall was $15,000.00 ? It bothers me a lot. Rainsville's mayor changed the time of the meetings, in the hope that making the workshop portion of the meeting at 4:15 pm would make it difficult or too inconvenient for residents who worked to show up at the meetings. They are not interested in seeing or hearing from any Rainsville resident. They are too busy fulfilling their own private agendas, certainly not worrying about loans or any money that they can get and spend. They will be long gone and the fallout from their actions will have to be the burden of all Rainsville's residents for years to come. Please plan to come to a meeting or watch the videos of the workshops and meetings which are always recorded and can be found on The Southern Torch's website. City council meetings are the first and third Monday of each month. The workshop portion of the meeting begins promptly at 4:15 pm. The meeting that follows begins at 5:00 pm. If you wish to formally address the Mayor and/or the city council, you must go by city hall and fill out a brief form to be on the agenda to speak. You must file this form to city hall no later than one week prior to the next meeting. If you have a question, or have something you feel you should say, you may stand up, during the workshop and wait to be recognized by the mayor in order to speak.Folks should watch carefully or they could wake up one morning and find that our mayor and city council members have moved the city of Rainsville to a new location.

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