Homeowner dissatisfied with city’s response to potentially hazardous materials

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A mess on the side of the road. Two dozen plastic containers filled with liquids were left on the side of Coro Road, just a few steps away from a freshwater lake in a quiet Southwest Memphis community.

"Jugs of antifreeze. Jugs! And oil jugs full of antifreeze or something, I'm not sure. I'm not a chemist, I don't know what it is," said Joe Hunter.

"I would have cleaned them up if they were just empty bottles, but they're all full," he added.

Hunter said he was doing his usual neighborhood patrol when he came across the bottles. That's when he called the city of Memphis looking for help.

"I did what I thought I should do. I called 311, the city and have the hazmat team come see what it is and pick it up and take it."

But he didn't get the response he was looking for.

"The young lady tried to explain to me all they take care of is the green dumpsters and there was nothing she could do for me."

The city's 311 call center is a non-emergency number for residents to call to have anything from overgrown weeds and trash to potholes taken care of.

Frustrated, Hunter said he decided to put his lack of response by the city on social media hoping something will be done.

"I'm concerned about my geese and my ducks, my baby turtles walking over there and getting into that stuff. They don't know what that stuff is."

City leaders released the following statement:

"The Shelby County Household Hazardous Waste facility will accept wastes such as this from a resident of Shelby County. Hazardous waste generated by companies is regulated by TDEC.

If this is illegally dumped in the ROW, then the Office of Emergency Management would respond - likely with the help of Fire Division. We don't collect hazardous wastes. We are not permitted by the state for such actions."

Hunter said he won't be satisfied until it's cleaned up.

"We don't allow stuff to just lay like that. We pick up tires, we do our best to try and keep the community clean ourselves, but we need some help from the city. We don't ask for much out here."

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