Sock Pond has been known as a popular fishing spot for the community for years, but lately, it has become a hub for garbage, yard waste and trashy furniture.
“Repetitively throughout the summer, we’ve encountered all kinds of illegal dumping. Up to this point it was yard clippings and branches, but now we’ve found couches, furniture and all kinds of stuff,” City Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Eckhardt said. “So we are temporarily closing it so we can really work on getting it cleaned up and try to defer some of that illegal dumping for a while.”
Tucked away in the city’s southwest corner, Sock Pond is located just west of Bradshaw Park off 48th Avenue. Parks and Rec staff members have been spending more and more time out there in recent months collecting all of the waste and garbage being dropped off there.
“We’re literally spending so much of our resources just taking care of vandalism when we have other tasks to do,” Eckhardt said.
Unfortunately, Parks and Rec staff members have had their plates full with a lot of cleanup duty due to ongoing vandalism throughout the city. In the last few months, they’ve found the men’s restroom at Glur Park vandalized.
In July, City staff had to replace toilets near the tennis courts at Pawnee Park for $600 apiece after it was uncovered someone lit fireworks in them to celebrate Independence Day and completely destroyed them.
In August, the men’s restroom at Glur Park was found decimated. The plastic toilet paper dispenser had been torn off the stall wall, ripped into multiple pieces and then shoved into the toilet and urinal along with all of the toilet paper. The trash can was obviously kicked down, scattering garbage all around.
Then in September, the band shell in downtown Columbus’ Frankfort Square required cleaning and painting after someone spray painted.
But the illegal dumping of yard waste at Sock Pond is especially concerning for several reasons to City Project Manager Dave Boswell, who oversees the stormwater management program for the City of Columbus.
“It could harm the environment completely,” Boswell said. “And not just the water. Animals could come up and eat it, kids could play with it while they’re there fishing."
Boswell said chemicals could be mixed into that yard waste that could be harmful. He also said leaves and grass have nitrates (nitrogen and oxygen that plants take up from soil). Those nitrates can cause algae that pollutes the water and ultimately kills fish.
Bowell cited Lake Erie as a example of what could happen to local bodies of water. By the 1960s, Lake Erie had become extremely polluted in part due to the heavy industry near Cleveland and other surrounding cities. Factories were dumping pollutants into the lake and the waterways that flowed into it. Waste from city sewers made its way into the lake too, as did fertilizer and pesticides from agricultural runoff, according to clevelandhistorical.org.
As a result, Lake Erie contained increased levels of phosphorus and nitrogen that contributed to eutrophication. Dead fish showed up on the shoreline as a lack of oxygen in the water.
If caught, illegal dumping can result in fines. Eckhardt stressed people should bring their trash and unwanted items to the Transfer Station, 250. S. 14th Ave. The Solid Waste Transfer Station provides efficient and safe handling of solid waste from Columbus and the surrounding area. This facility allows collection vehicles, contractors and residents to dispose of their Municipal Solid Waste. Hours of operation depend on the season. You can see the hours on the City’s website by clicking here.
“Remember to take it to the dump and not just dump it in a city park,” Eckhardt said. “The parks are not there for illegal dumping. Our parks are meant for everyone to enjoy.”
Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus