Cismont Junkyard Still Piled High One Year Later

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

January 4, 2006

One year ago today, a Cismont fire blazed out of control, which lead authorities to an illegal backyard landfill that was 30 years in the making. Some neighbors are still upset about this eyesore.

On January 4, 2005 Albemarle County officials discovered a junkyard in the back of a Cismont home. Homeowners, Cecil and Doris Gardner were slapped with a notice of violation and told to remove it. One year later, most of the garbage remains untouched.

"All the items such as paint cans, tanks, barrels and things, all that stuff has been removed and they're making good progress on getting rid of the remaining materials," said Lee Catlin, the Albemarle County spokesperson.

But they still have yet to clean up things like household appliances, old vehicles, scrap metal, and trash.

Neighbors like Patricia Napoleon are concerned about their health since they don't know what's been buried under the Gardner's yard for the past 30 years.

"I think they're not being careful enough, I think they needed to take in an inventory of all materials on site," said Patricia Napoleon, a neighbor.

The Department of Environmental Quality has been checking up on the Gardner's once a week but they have only been keeping records of the most dangerous materials. However, neighbors said that's not good enough.

"[I think] they've been too easy on violators," said Napoleon.

According to the County, the Gardner's do have deadlines but if they are lax on the deadlines, they are not going to fine them for not complying.

"I know that people want to see it disappear immediately, they want it all to be gone and I can understand that. The reality is that it took many, many years for that amount of trash to accumulate," said Catlin.

It will take more than a year for the Gardner's to clean it all up. The DEQ said preliminary testing of three water wells in the area has come up clean.

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