Fighting Litter in Sumter County
Members of the 20th Civil Engineering Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base spent part of their Saturday cleaning up litter along a stretch of Patriot Parkway.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt said 31 bags of trash totaling about 620 pounds were removed from S.C. 441 from Shaw Drive to the intersection with U.S. 378 on July 9, 2022.
Daniel Kearney of the 20th CES said the stretch of Patriot Parkway chosen for a cleanup is a spot with “heavy traffic and heavy trash.”
“It’s a spot I drive by every day, and I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” he said.
Joining him from the 20th CES were Can Liu and her son Ted; Pat Wood and Amanda Roberts. Also involved in the cleanup was Clay Villegas of the 9th Air Force’s Cyber Systems Operations.
Along with Hyatt, Asst. Public Works Director Johnny McLeod picked up litter with fellow department workers Brandon Chan, Jerone McKenzie and Daniel Welch.
“We greatly appreciate our volunteers who spend some of their free time to beautify Sumter County,” Hyatt said.
June 18, 2022
We appreciate everyone who was involved in Saturday’s Community Cleanup Day. Brittany Bickford and James Burt of Continental Tire picked up trash along U.S. 521 near their worksite and on U.S. 15 South, Kaye Sliwonik, Marion and Patty McRoy and Dee Dee and Drue Spigner picked up trash along U.S. 15 South. Well done!
April 29, 2022
April 9, 2022
Community Clean-up Day - this group cleaned up Wilson Hall Road.
April 8, 2022
A whole lot of trash was removed today from Pinewood Road as a group of Sumter County employees spent their morning picking up litter. Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon said County Government has asked business and industry to get involved in the fight against litter, so it’s appropriate for county employees to help out as well. Sumter County Council Chairman Jim McCain thanked the employees for taking part in the cleanup before he joined in. Please don’t litter as we work to clean up Sumter County, South Carolina.
March 29, 2022
People will come from each part of the county and take their places at the table.
That’s the underlying idea to a new grant-funded initiative designed to bring our community together under the common umbrella of fighting litter.
On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, local government officials gathered with volunteer board members of the Sumter Litter Advisory Board for a conference call with the Central Carolina Community Foundation. Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon, Public Works Director Karen Hyatt, Assistant City Manager Howie Owens, Communications Director Shelley Kile, and Assistant Services Specialist B.J. Reed were joined by LAB Chairman the Rev. Ernest Frierson, and LAB members Erika Williams and Tosha Gardner, who serve on the board’s Marketing Committee.
Mixon explained that he’d had conversations with Central Carolina Community Foundation President and CEO JoAnn Turnquist about a program the foundation runs called ‘On the Table,’ which brings people together to discuss a specific issue.
“We’re all about bringing people together to make our communities more livable, more equitable, more vibrant and we do that by investing funds and bringing people together,” she told the group, who gathered in a conference room in the County’s Administration building.
The Foundation aims to inspire philanthropy and inspire “collaborative philanthropy,” she said, and provides grants across the Midlands to improve livability and connectivity through funds given to non-profit organizations, faith-based entities, and local government.
Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick had spoken with her recently about the City-County Litter Advisory Board, and she saw that as “a perfect fit where you can bring community members together to have solution-focused conversations,” about litter in Sumter, she said. ‘On the Table’ is simply a more structured way to “get to an issue and engage people,” she said.
Rev. Frierson noted the Litter Advisory Board has split up Sumter County into quadrants for purposes of focusing cleanup efforts into one area and then rotating to the next, and he asked Turnquist about identifying “key players” as part of each group.
Generally speaking, she said influencers can come from education, the churches or neighborhood organizations, and should include a mix of older and younger people. Williams asked if the discussion would be a one-off event or a series of discussions, and Turnquist said it’s been both.
She also explained that once a community has an ‘On the Table’ discussion, participants need to come up ideas to be funded by grants from ‘Beyond the Table,’ which includes five grants of $4,000 each.
Mixon said if the groups are awarded the grants, Sumter County Government will match the funds.
“I think this entire initiative you’re undertaking is an incredible model,” Turnquist said. “I think it’s amazing your county and your city work together so well … It’s the only county I know it has this type of synergy.”
Mixon said he spoke about both ‘On the Table’ and ‘Beyond the Table’ at the most recent LAB meeting, and it was well received. The litter board could use both as “a launching pad of who they are how they might function,” he said, and bring some welcome exposure to how the City and County are working to fight litter.
“These are the types of stories we love to tell,” Turnquist said.
One format proposal would have Mayor David Merchant, County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. and Rev. Frierson make statements from one area and other groups from each area of the county could then begin a Zoom-type discussion regarding litter and how best to tackle the issue.
Civic groups, student leaders and well-regarded community members would then talk about how to move forward.
“This is just extremely exciting, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation,” Turnquist added.
After the meeting, Mixon said April 30, 2022, is the target date for a county-wide discussion. At four separate locations on that day, with each location representing that quadrant, the plan is to have four tables at each site for participants. One table will represent schools, one table for business and industry, one table for Homeowners or Neighborhood Association, and one table for churches.
Each group will come up with their own plan to address litter and how their grant money will be used, and each quadrant will have one community cleanup day as well.
“We really think this will spark some interest and hopefully create some momentum for people to act on,” he said. “And if we have groups of people in each quadrant who become very involved in the process, it will greatly help the City and County as we move forward in our fight against litter.”
March 21, 2022
The Sumter Litter Advisory Board formally adopted a plan to divide the county into quadrants for targeted cleanups as marketing efforts expanded the board’s plans.
At the board’s March 21, 2022, meeting, updates were given to the board from City Litter Officer Glenn Button, who spoke about recent cleanups and which groups took part, such as the West End Neighborhood Association, Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments and the South Sumter Association.
“So participation is going really well,” he said.
The Tire Buy Back event at the Sumter County Civic Center saw 303 tires returned, he said, and over $600 given out to participants. The next Community Cleanup is April 9, 2022, he noted, to not interfere with Easter weekend.
Button said March 5, 2022, was Volunteer Appreciation Day, and over 200 volunteers came out for a free lunch and program that involved guest speakers and awards.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt introduced Litter Control Officer Cindy Schumpert, who detailed recent cleanups and community outreach initiatives.
During the Feb. 19 Community Cleanup event, 2,165 pounds of garbage was removed, she said. Schumpert and Litter Control Officer Tim Smith handed out 60 tarps and spoke with the recipients about securing loads in trucks to ensure nothing ends up in the streets. She and Smith also targeted illegal dumping sites on Trufield Drive and Gaillard Drive where people drop off refrigerators, couches, beds and more.
Contract laborers recently removed about 124 bags of trash from Cane Savannah Road near the Recycling Center, she said.
Sumter County’s website now has three new buttons, Communications Coordinator Joe Perry told the group, with two of those buttons being hyperlinks – one for the new LAB website and one for the County’s Litter Control Officers so residents can report a ‘Litter Hotspot.’
Board member Sandra Riley of the S.C. DOT said the annual Spring cleanup will see volunteers deployed between U.S. 521 North and S.C. 401. There’s about 14 groups currently taking part in the Adopt-A-Highway program, she said, and the idea is pick up roadside litter before the regular mowings.
Board Chairman the Rev. Ernest Frierson welcomed Tosha Gardner as the newest board member, noting that Gardner “hit the ground running” and was elected to serve as Chair of the Marketing/Education committee.
“She came with a lot of knowledge and information,” Frierson said.
Gardner said she and fellow Marketing/Education Committee member Erika Williams identified 11 Neighborhood Associations which will become involved with the LAB.
“So that we can try to get a feel of what the community wants – what they’re willing to do so we can get everyone dispersed and working together, she said.”
There’s also 48 Homeowner Associations in Sumter County, she said, as she and Williams plan on meeting with them to talk about litter cleanups.
Williams said they also explained the quadrant concept, which is to break the county into four sections and focus intense efforts on one quadrant at a time on a rotating basis.
Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon, an Ex-officio board member, said the Neighborhood Associations will be effective in urban areas, while the churches will help in rural areas.
Board member Joe Brown used maps to show how the quadrants would look.
City of Sumter Codes Enforcement Director John Macloskie, who said the logical solution would be to divide Sumter County by using U.S. 378 as the east to west boundary and U.S. 15 as the north and south demarcation.
That plan was voted on and approved.
Feb. 19, 2022
We want to thank everyone who was involved in Saturday's Litter Pickup as we work towards keeping Sumter County litter free. The Public Works' Litter Team was on hand and collected 40 bags of garbage from two sites. About 60 tarps were given out on Saturday and Monday as we like to see trash-filled trailers and truck beds covered with tarps so nothing falls out before you get to our Recycling Centers or the Landfill.
Jan. 24, 2022
The Sumter Litter Advisory Board heard from one of the state’s leading litter experts at its Jan. 24, 2022, meeting, as the group formally joined the Assign-A-Highway program and discussed plans for a new website.
Palmetto Pride Executive Director Sarah Lyles spoke to the volunteer board members about the mission of her organization and how the Sumter board can keep moving forward with momentum and purpose.
A legislative-created non-profit, Palmetto Pride focuses on four areas, she said: Education, enforcement, awareness and litter pickups. They work with the S.C. Department of Transportation on administering the Adopt-A-Highway program and look to grow the keep South Carolina Beautiful network to have 36 affiliates by year’s end.
A recent program with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources works to recycle fishing lines, an effort managed by the S.C. Litter Association, she said.
“So we do a whole bunch of things,” she said.
One particular area for Palmetto Pride that Lyles emphasized is how her organization works with communities, counties and municipal governments on how to structure litter programs and ensure support systems are in place.
“You’ve got to be consistent with your programming,” she said, while cautioning that economic downturns can deter litter pickup efforts.
Lyles said she will work closely with Sumter County Litter Control Officer Tim Smith on securing grants for the county and she encouraged a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Sheriff’s Office for more robust enforcement efforts.
Sumter Litter Advisory Board Vice Chairman Scott Burkett asked about pushing state legislators to tighten up litter laws and Lyles said litter definitions have been updated, community service hour requirements have increased, and fines have increased as well. Community service, she noted, can now happen without supervision.
There are still plenty of issues remaining, she said, and the courts are still backed up because of pandemic slowdowns.
Palmetto Pride has seen “a huge increase” in community service numbers statewide, she said, and the state DOT is working to coordinate with county governments.
She said in her 20 years at Palmetto Pride, more attention is currently being paid to litter from the state level down to local governments.
“So it’s encouraging, but it is taking a lot of time,” she said.
Work continues to strengthen ordinances at the county level, she said, and Burkett suggested the use of dash cams to catch litterers in the act.
City Councilman Steve Corley, an ex-officio member of the board, told her there’s a lot of energy with the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government regarding an extensive litter plan.
“We’ve allocated resources, we’ve hired employees -- tell us how we don’t lose momentum,” he said.
Lyles encouraged the board to join the S.C. Litter Control Association and pledged her help with trainings and staying engaged on the enforcement side. Keep communicating with volunteers, she said, and think of other organizations to get involved such as independent schools or perhaps Americorps.
“Put the message out there,” she said.
Enforcement is key and sting operations work, she said, noting there’s not much research in that area. Identify three or four litter hotspots, she said, clean them up and conduct enforcement stings and then re-assess after three or four months.
Corley said the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, the Sumter Board of Realtors, Shaw Air Force Base and various neighborhood associations have joined in the efforts as well.
“Our county has just thrown their whole energy into it. We want to be sure we’re on the right track,” she said.
City of Sumter Litter Control Officer Glenn Button said Palmetto Pride has been very helpful for him and the City.
Lyles said Button has been “a rockstar.”
In updating the City’s efforts, Button said the Dec. 18, 2021, Litter Pick-Up involved 15 teams for a total of 126 participants that gathered 195 bags of trash.
A team from Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments (COG) is targeting Lafayette Drive and on March 5th, Sumter High School students will clean up Pack’s Landing from 9 to 11 a.m. as part of ‘Sweep Across South Carolina,’ which is sponsored by the S.C. Aquarium and the S.C. Floodwaters Commission. The idea is to raise awareness of the connection between flooding and plastics and pollution.
“They’re doing this all over the state and asked us to participate,” he said.
The City’s litter page on its website has been updated, he said, and there are plans for a Volunteer Appreciation Day lunch on Feb. 5, 2022.
The City has worked out plans for a tire buy back program with the help of Continental Tire, he said, which will be held on March 19, 2022, at the Sumter County Civic Center.
New efforts at public outreach involving the schools are in the works, he said.
Tim Smith, the county’s Litter Control Officer, said he and fellow Litter Officer Cindy Schumpert are taking part in training to achieve Class 3 certification and have a wider range of abilities to enforce and investigate. He’s traveled to other counties to see their litter programs, he said, and is working on securing grants.
Schumpert said she joined the team “because I’m very passionate about it,” and is working hard to learn which programs work and how they succeed.
In December 2021, 7,780 pounds of trash were cleaned up, and in January 2022, 6,020 pounds of trash have been cleaned up. Those numbers don’t include larger items like TVs, toilets and tires, she said.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt spoke about recent cleanup efforts and explained how it takes a team of personnel to support the Litter Rake.
Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon, an ex-officio board member, said crews work alongside the rake to increase the efficiency of the overall cleanup.
“We’re still working through what is the best use for it,” he said.
Board member Russell Brannon said the Enforcement Subcommittee has met several times over the last few weeks and is recommending “a strategic lineup” between the City and County and local judges.
The idea is to present strong cases for prosecution to get “the best bang for the buck,” and some good publicity as well, he said. There’s also a recommendation to map out litter hotspots to focus on areas with more complaints.
“A quick visualization to know where our problems are,” he said.
City of Sumter Codes Director John Macloskie said he’s working to get the Magistrate Court more involved and to get more convicted litterers out picking up trash.
Board member Erika Williams updated the Marketing Subcommittee’s efforts and how the Litter Advisory Board has a presence on Facebook, Instagram and on websites for the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government.
There’s been discussion about the board getting its own website, she said, and Sumter Chamber President Chris Hardy said the Chamber and Economic Development could “co-maintain” the website.
Mixon also advocated for a website, and the board voted to take part in the Assign-A-Highway program, which is a litter pick-up program involving the Circuit Courts, the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Service and Litter Enforcement.
The board’s next meeting is slated for Feb. 21, 2022.Sumter Litter Advisory Board
Jan. 19, 2022
Spencer Road litter cleanup
Dec. 18, 2021
A team from Dalzell United Methodist Church cleaned up a portion of Black River Road on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, as part of a Community Clean Up Day sponsored by Sumter County Government, the City of Sumter and the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. Public Works Director Karen Hyatt and Cindy Schumpert, a newly hired Litter Control Officer, were on hand to support the efforts.
Dec. 15, 2021
Sumter County’s newest piece of equipment used to fight litter was deployed on Dec. 15, 2021, around the Pinewood Road Recycling Center. We appreciate the assistance of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office with traffic control. If you see litter crews along the roadways, please slow down. Also, please don’t litter.
Dec. 2, 2021
The new Litter Picker is used to clean up the median of U.S. 521 North near Frierson Road.
Nov. 15, 2021
Sumter Litter Advisory Board Chairman the Rev. Ernest Frierson speaks during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt speaks during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting about new equipment.
City of Sumter Litter Control Officer Glenn Button gives an update during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting.
Sumter County Litter Control Officer Tim Smith and Public Works Director Karen Hyatt.
The Sumter Litter Advisory Board heard updates from the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government as a major marketing rollout takes shape.
Comprised of volunteers, the newly formed board elected at its September meeting the Rev. Ernest Frierson as Chairman, Scott Burkett as Vice Chairman and Beverly Davis as Secretary/Treasurer. Also serving on the board are Barbara Richburg, Russell Brannon, Joe Brown, Erika Williams, Chris Hardy, Sandra Riley, Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joey Rogerson and Sumter Police Capt. Robert Singleton.
Serving as Ex-Officio members who advise but don’t vote are: County Councilman Charles Edens, City Councilman Steve Corley, Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick.
Formation of the LAB came about as the pandemic worsened the litter situation throughout the county and both local governments devised new ways to address the problem. For over a year now, the City of Sumter has had Glenn Button serving as the Litter Control Officer while the County is adding similar positions and new equipment.
At the Nov. 15, 2021, meeting, Glenn Button reported on recent cleanups, grant-funded initiatives, court-directed community service efforts and more. The next Community Clean-up Day is Dec. 18, he noted, as civic groups target specific areas in a concerted effort to improve our community’s aesthetics.
A Volunteer Appreciation Day is in the works, he said, to show appreciation toward all those working to rid Sumter of litter.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt told the board she’s still in process of hiring litter-specific staffers as the new Litter Control Officer, Tim Smith, begins his tenure. The county also took out its new Litter Picker on a test run and Hyatt showed a video of the new device, which essentially rakes the ground with moving tines to pick up debris. The new device does pick up organic matter such as grass and she noted there’s a learning curve to the equipment.
A support crew is needed for the Litter Picker and Mixon explained how it was used along U.S. 378/Broad Street across from Shaw Air Force after the S.C. DOT had recently cut the grass. When driven over taller grass, though, it picked up trash just fine but didn’t capture organic matter.
Councilman Corley talked about how he saw smaller litter crews picking up litter with the use of all-terrain Gator-type vehicles on a trip to Florida.
Barbara Richburg reported on a late October Marketing Subcommittee meeting in which the board’s online presence was discussed, along with using a logo and slogan – Love Where You Live -- created by the City of Sumter. A Facebook page for the Sumter Litter Alliance created by Burkett about five years ago will transition to become the Sumter Litter Advisory Board’s page, she said.
Also discussed by the Marketing Subcommittee were purchasing cloth bags to hand out at public events, and Burkett also proposed having bags available at convenience stores to prevent littering.
Both Mixon and McCormick underscored how the LAB will have support from the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government even as it becomes an independent entity, possibly with 501©3 non-profit status.
Frierson noted that there will be continued work on the public outreach aspect as he advocated for collaboration.
Riley said the S.C. DOT held two fall pickups recently and collected 210 bags of garbage. The next pickup will be in the Spring, and she noted mowing season has ended for the DOT.
Joe Brown passed out a map and advocated for splitting the county into quadrants with rotating cleanups.
Mixon and Councilman Edens spoke briefly about a program in Pickens that uses grants to pay civic or church groups to clean up targeted areas for $250 a mile.
The next meeting of the Sumter Litter Advisory Board will be held on Jan. 24, 2022. Frierson told the group he wants everyone to be “on the same mindset.”
“That we have one common goal, here for Sumter -- the City and County,” he said. Frierson paraphrased an earlier comment from McCormick, that the focus is Sumter, “and I’m not talking about the City or County, but Sumter. That we come together and give it all we got.”Nov. 12, 2021
Sumter County's newest equipment to fight litter is a Litter Picker that's pulled by a tractor.
Sept. 20, 2021
The Rev. Ernest Frierson speaks during a Sept. 20, 2021, board meeting after being elected as Chairman of the Sumter Litter Advisory Board.
The Sumter Litter Advisory Board elected the Rev. Ernest Frierson to serve as Chairman and Scott Burkett to serve as Vice Chairman.
At the outset of the board’s Sept. 20, 2021, meeting at Patriot Park Pavilion, Frierson and Burkett were chosen by their fellow board members to lead the group of volunteers in the fight against litter in Sumter County.
“Let me first of all say – this really was unexpected,” Frierson said, noting he was humbled by the election.
Chosen to serve as Secretary/Treasurer was Beverly Davis.
Also serving on the board are: Barbara Richburg, Russell Brannon, Joe Brown, Erika Williams, Chris Hardy, Sandra Riley, Deputy Joey Rogerson and Capt. Robert Singleton.
Serving as Ex-Officio members who advise but don’t vote are: County Councilman Charles Edens, City Councilman Steve Corley, Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick.
Corley noted he hears “lots of energy in the community” regarding positive steps toward combating litter in Sumter.
“We all have to be on this together,” he said.
McCormick told the group the City of Sumter’s new vacuum truck will soon be deployed to clean well-traveled corridors.
John Macloskie, Codes Director for the City of Sumter, reported that since Litter Control Officer Glenn Button started about a year ago, 83,000 pounds of trash have been picked up off the roadsides.
The next Community Clean-Up Day is slated for Oct. 16, he said, and encouraged everyone to spread the word about it. A grant from Palmetto Pride will be used to purchase cameras to monitor high litter areas, he said.
A program with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will see deputies writing warning tickets for people bringing trailered trash to the landfills without a proper tarp cover. Tarps will be given out for free, he said.
“We think that’s a high percentage of the volume of litter, which is blown out the back of trucks,” he said.
Talks are ongoing with Contintental Tire to institute a buy-back program, he said. Palmetto Pride and the Columbia Marionette Theater have a program to combat litter and they’re trying to get that in the schools, he said. Radio ads have been airing during football games to remind people to pick up litter and litter awareness booths have been set up at community events.
Signs on Codes Enforcement vehicles are being used to get people in the habit of reporting litter, he said.
Burkett raised the idea of switching over a Sumter Litter Alliance Facebook page he established five years ago to represent the newly formed board.
After discussion about social media and publicizing events such as the Community Clean Up Day slated for Oct. 16, Rev. Frierson that topic should be on the agenda for the next meeting.
He said he hopes the northeast corridor of the county isn’t overlooked in general terms.
“One of things I’m concerned about it is – we show a unified front,” he said.
Councilman Edens offered the view that the formation of subcommittees would be a key step moving forward.
Mixon, the county administrator, lauded the City’s litter program and said the County is working to implement its program. Both entities will work together, he said, to take on litter issues.
Sumter County Director of Public Works Karen Hyatt said a Litter Officer and Litter Operator have been hired and a few more positions have yet to be filled, but should be staffed by the end of October.
The Litter Rake and a tractor are in and a dump truck and trailer have been ordered.
“Hopefully by October-November we’ll be up and rolling,” she said.
Hyatt raised the idea of creating a Sumter Litter logo or emblem for equipment dedicated to that task.
The next Community Clean Up Day is slated for Oct. 16, 2021.
The Sumter Litter Advisory Board elected Scott Burkett to serve as Vice Chairman.
July 26, 2021
The fight against litter in Sumter County took on a new life as the City-County Litter Advisory Board held its inaugural meeting on July 26 at Patriot Park Pavilion.
Presiding over the meeting was County Council Chairman Jim McCain, who noted at the outset of the meeting that himself and others have been working on the litter issue in Sumter for some time.
County Councilman Charles Edens and City Councilman Steve Corley also spoke briefly to the appointed members of the board. Edens urged them not to stretch meetings out but keep it under an hour to accomplish goals.
“Don’t take it lightly – we’re going to ask you to do some work,” he said. “We want your thoughts, we want your ideas.”
Edens noted County Council added 1 mill to the tax rolls specifically to fund a new litter program. He also told the group that he and Councilman Corley are ex-officio board members along with County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick. (Ex-officio members have no vote.)
Edens urged board members to help spread the word about litter prevention and to try and get civic organizations and volunteers involved in clean-up efforts.
Councilman Corley thanked the group for volunteering their time. He said it’s important to get “the message out,” and to get the news out that the group is active in the community, but it’s crucial that coordination among like-minded groups takes place.
The City hired Glen Button as its Litter Control Officer, he said, and the County is working towards hiring some litter staffers as well. There’s a lot that can be accomplished, Corley said.
“We make a difference,” he said. “How we act.”
Board members are: Sandra Riley, the S.C. Department of Transportation Maintenance Engineer for Sumter; Erika Williams with the Sumter Development Board; Barbara Richburg of the Turkey Creek Neighborhood Association; Russell Brannon of SAFE Federal Credit Union; Chris Hardy, President of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce; the Rev. Ernest Frierson, who represents the northeast corridor of Sumter County; Beverly Davis of the Crosswell Neighborhood Association; Joe Brown of Joe Brown Bail Bond; Scott Burkett, a Realtor who founded the Sumter Litter Alliance with others; Joey Rogerson, a Codes Enforcement Deputy with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; and Capt. Robert Singleton of the Sumter Police Department.
Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt gave a short presentation to the group, explaining the tenets of clean-up, enforcement and education.
“So where are we at in the county? We are in the beginning stages of hiring personnel for our litter control division,” she said. “And in the process of buying equipment.”
There will be two Litter Control Officers, she said, who will go through the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy and will hold a Class 3 designation, which allows them to write tickets. They will be responsible for identifying litter hotspots and telling the litter control operators where they need to go.
Those officers will also work with the City of Sumter and Palmetto Pride, for example, to help with the education and public outreach aspect of litter control, she said.
There will be two Litter Control Operators, she said, with one holding a Commercial Driver’s License. A litter rake is on order, and will be used alongside a tractor, trailer, a dump truck and pickup trucks.
Mixon, the county administrator, noted that “we looked at a number of different applications and different types of equipment and I think what you’re going to hear from Mr. McCormick with the City is that they have a little bit different application and probably a different piece of equipment.”
There will need to be a prioritization of cleaning up some of the worst areas, he said, and for the county, the roads leading into the Recycling Centers are often heavily littered.
Mixon said there needs to be a culture shift in our community that essentially accepts litter as the norm. Burkett asked about how clean-ups would work in areas that are shared by the City and County and around the line delineating the two entities.
“We recognize this as not a city or county issue – it’s a community issue,” Mixon said, and it will take combined efforts to address the problem.
Mixon also noted that public equipment won’t be used to clean up private property.
McCormick, the City Manager, thanked Corley, Edens and McCain for bringing litter issues to the fore and for their respective councils to fund litter clean-up solutions. He also noted there will be areas of overlap in terms of city and county efforts.
Part of the education component, he said, is to “hopefully work ourselves out of a job,” as anti-litter mindsets take hold.
There have been neighborhood cleanups in the City for years and years, he said, and Assistant City Manager Al Harris keeps up with construction and demolition litter as well as “stuff put on the side of the road.”
McCormick mused where all the discarded tires come from and said one neighborhood clean-up yielded 218 tires. In one neighborhood.
Inmates were being used to pick up trash, he said, but Covid-19 protocols sidelined those efforts.
While he sees the value of a rake system used to pick up trash, the City will fare better with a vacuum truck, he said, but a concerted effort is required for the long run.
“We need every arrow in the quiver to attack this,” he said.
John Macloskie, the city’s Codes Enforcement Director, said he found out “we are all going to have be willing to pick up other people’s trash,” which he admitted was a little disheartening.
There’s a difference between litter and illegal dumping, he said, and when illegal dumps are discovered, they work to find the person responsible and issue tickets. The real issue is roadside litter, as you generally “might not see someone throw that out,” he said.
One of the goals is to have Glenn Button, the City’s Litter Control Officer, making his presence known to deter flagrant littering. He also gave a shout-out to the Chamber of Commerce for providing help and support for the Community Clean-Up Days.
“We’re picking up trash from years ago,” Macloskie said, as the aim is to get the old trash removed and then maintain the roadsides regularly to prevent build-up.
To date, the removal of about 75,000 pounds of trash can be attributed to Button and the City’s efforts as well as those of volunteer groups, he said.
Magistrate judges are assigning non-violent offender to community service work, he said, to clean up litter hotspots.
“We’ve made a good start, I think, but y’all can see there’s a lot more,” he said.
McCormick deemed clean-up efforts “a team sport,” that combines the work of the City, the County and the S.C. Department of Transportation. Corridors coming into town have been planted with trees and are being regularly cleaned, he said, to beautify our entrance ways.
“It will take all of us working together, and it’s noticeable, too,” he said.
June 19, 2021
Early this morning right across from Shaw Air Force Base, a group of young Air Force officers spent part of their Saturday cleaning up litter.
They were one group of many in Sumter, South Carolina, who took part in the Community Clean Up Day on June 19, 2021. It’s an effort that brings together local government, the Sumter Chamber of Commerce and various civic groups and volunteers looking to bag litter and clean the roadways.
“Litter is one of my pet peeves,” said 2nd Lt. Tatiana Pushkarewicz of the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, a Pennsylvania native who brought along the squadron’s unofficial mascot, a well-loved Golden Retriever named Nala.
“She goes with me everywhere,” Pushkarewicz said, laughing. “Moral support.”
Helping clean up alongside the duo were 2nd Lt. Alicia Byrne from New Hampshire and 1st Lt. Spencer McIntosh of Texas.
Byrne and McIntosh both serve in the 20th Component Maintenance Squadron and Byrne said they belong to a group of officers who volunteer and get involved with different events in the community.
“It’s networking but it’s about making a positive difference,” she said. “People with kind hearts.”
Just up Broad Street were Ohio native 2nd Lt. Kevin Sheedy of the 20th Contracting Squadron and Lewis Zannou of New York City who serves as a second lieutenant with the 20th Medical Group.
“Just wanted to make the environment a little bit cleaner,” Zannou said.
Closer to the main gate of Shaw AFB were Floridians Lt. Dustin Pennington and 2nd Lt. Kayla Davis.
“Just trying to be helpful,” said Davis.
Near the intersection of Patriot Parkway and Broad Street/U.S. 378 was Sr. Airman Alec Edwards, who joked that he would do “anything to get out of the office.”
A member of the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, the Connecticut native said he was enjoying the breezy summer weather in the south.
“This is not the worst day to be doing this,” he said. “Very nice outside.”
Maj. Joe Steiner, a Michigander and Mission Commander, said the group taking part in the clean-up comprised active duty military alongside National Guard personnel.
“It’s nice to help out,” he said before the group posed for a photo with several bags of trash taken off Patriot Parkway.
Also with the EACS was Daniel Moreno, a senior airman who works the night shift and jokes that he misses the sun.
“It’s my workout for the day, and I’m getting a tan,” he joked. “But the road looks much better doesn’t it?”
By lunchtime, the Sumter P-15s had already cleaned up a big portion of McCrays Mill Road – another area of Sumter that is now in better shape thanks to their hard work.
We appreciate the efforts of everyone who got involved today in cleaning up Sumter.
May 19, 2021
April 26, 2021
Narrow Paved Road is seen after litter cleanup crews scoured the roadsides for trash.
April 26, 2021
Litter cleanup crews target Eagle Road.
April 20, 2021
The road leading into the Rainier Blvd Recycling Site was cleaned up.
April 13, 2021
Litter cleanup crews target Berry Street.
The drainage ditch on Berry Street after the cleanup.
April 7, 2021
Public Works employees and litter cleanup crews target the area leading into the Cane Savannah Recycling Site.
The road and area leading into Stamey Livestock's Recycling site are also targeted for cleanup.
April 6, 2021
A ditch running alongside Berry Street is choked with trash. Several pieces of equipment are used to clean it up.
April 1, 2021
City and County officials watch a demonstration of a vacuum truck in consideration of adding new equipment to fight litter.