Panama City Landfill Getting Cleaned Up

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Lisa Salley is raising her family in a home just down the street from mountains of garbage in the abandoned Coyote landfill on Sherman Avenue.

"I have little girls, and the neighbors have little girls and we would not let our little girls go up there and play and get into that stuff, at all," said Salley.

The Department of Enviromental Protection ordered the landfill closed in August of 2011, sighting a number of violations, including collecting 19-thousand cubic yards of waste. Nearly 10 times it's permitted capacity.

"It's just a real mess. It's a constant reminder to the mayor and myself that we can't let something like this happen again, even though this happened many years ago," said commissioner George Gainer.

However, that wrong is now being made right with a $600,000 clean up project that will cost the tax payers little or nothing.

The reason, following the completion of the airport, Phoenix Construction Services owed the DEP just over half a million dollars in penalty fees.

"And one of the options we extend to people with outstanding penalties is that you can go and perform an in-kind project, a pollution prevention project as opposed to just straight cash allocation to the department. So phoenix decided they would take on this project, to satisfy those obligations associated with those penalties at the airport," said DEP Director Shawn Hamilton.

Most of the waste will be taken to the county incinerator and anything that can be recycled will be.