State Shuts Down Megargel Dump

City Leaders in Megargel are asking 'what next?' after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality forced them to close-down a trash burning site. The move came after the TCEQ received a complaint from Megargel resident Jamie Monterrubio.

Monterrubio says the smoke from the fires drifted across his property, about 300 yards north of the site. He says the fumes were unbearable. "They would usually do it on a Friday, we would have to leave for the weekend," he said.

Monterrubio also made some serious allegations about the kinds of materials being burned in the fire pit. "They were burning illegal stuff batteries, tires, oil, and asbestos. You know asbestos could hurt you in the future," he said.

So, he filed a complaint with the TCEQ who came to investigate. The agency forced Megargel to stop using the burn pit. In an official document, the agency cites "Failure to prevent disposal of wastes without written authorization of the TCEQ… Failure to prevent the open burning of wastes."

The agency did not find any evidence of toxic or prohibited material being burned. Still, Newschannel 6 took Monterrubio's concerns to city leaders. "Did you guys burn any tires or batteries or anything else that shouldn't have been in there? No. That stuff was taken out and when the TCEQ came and inspected they found no tires batteries or any health hazards were not in that pit and they simply told us to clean it out haul it off and bury it cover the pit back up," said City Councilman Lawrence Smith.

With the burn pit out of the question, City Leaders had to come up with another solution to deal with refuse that is either too big or prohibited from being put into dumpsters. The City held a public meeting to see what folks in town wanted to do. The room discussed the issue for nearly an hour and decided to use roll-away dumpsters and charge a usage fee. The City will be working out the details of the arrangement in coming weeks.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6