It's known to Bithlo residents as an eyesore, a blight, and more importantly a health hazard to the community. We're talking about the A-Z Recycling site, and according to community activist Tim McKinney, this dump has been here for decades.
"It's causing harm," McKinney says. "It shouldn't be ok to have a dump outside your bedroom window next to your well for 20 years. It shouldn't be ok for 20 minutes."
McKinney says he's not just worried about what the dump looks like, but he says more importantly are the chemicals which maybe lurking here. McKinney says he spent months looking through records, investigating how dangerous this site has been to the public.
"We've seen test results," McKinney says. "We've seen maps and sketches, court depositions and lawsuits, all leading to believe -- that the county believed -- this was an imminent hazard."
Public records show sampling reports were conducted back in 2003 by Orange County officials. The documents reveal the county found arsenic, lead, mercury and a host of other chemicals, but because the land is private property, the lot was never able to be cleaned.
Armed with paperwork and information on the lot, FOX 35 went straight to Mayor Jacobs and the Orange County Department of Environmental Protection. They say they're now actively conducting site studies with the assistance of the property owner and a $60,000 grant awarded from the state.
"We are conducting active projects out there with the mayor's initiative," Renee Parker says. "We're conducting active water sampling and other private wells to solve the community's concerns."
The Department of Environmental Protection says they are expecting the results of site studies by mid June or early July. Residents happy the process is moving forward, but they're awaiting the day when the recycling plant-turned dumping ground is finally removed from their community.
FOX 35 has learned the property is owned by Mathes Land Development, a company based out of Missouri. According to records, they currently owe Orange County nearly $2 million in fines. Our calls to the development company for comment haven't been returned.