Cleanup Process on Harlingen Trash-Filled Lot Underway

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HARLINGEN – Some Cameron County residents said they’re starting to feel relief as the county moves to clean up a trash-filled lot.

In April, neighbors living on Dilworth Road notified CHANNEL 5 NEWS of the mess. They said the trash collected on the property is causing a health and safety hazard for people living around it.

Cameron County Precinct 4 said they sent the health department into the 5-acre property to evaluate exactly what equipment, manpower and machinery they would need to clean it up.

Gus Ruiz, Cameron County Precinct 4 commissioner for the Harlingen area, said it was the first time the county had ever gone into a property to clean it.

“We have one constituent who stated he saw a possum the size of a small goat,” he said.

Harlingen resident James Gancedo moved to an adjacent property last September. He said he’s glad the county is actually doing something about the mess of tires, trash and hazardous chemicals.

“If that catches on fire, everyone on this block is gone. Literally gone because you’re not going to put out the fire,” he said.  

Gancedo said he first went to the county for help in April.

Texas state law allows the county to physically go in and clean up problematic properties as long as they’ve given the property owner notice.

“He knows what we’re doing.  He knows he’s been in violation for years,” Ruiz said.

The property owner told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he recycles some of the materials on his property in Mexico for money.

The county said they’re keeping a close watch on the work so they can try to make up for some of the cost when the project is complete.

Ruiz said a company called Republic Trash Service is volunteering their time to haul the garbage away at no cost to taxpayers.

He said it will be up to the Public Works Department to physically go in and clean up the mess after the county finishes their plan.

The county said they hope what's happening with this property encourages other's to clean up messes that may be in violation.


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