Sizable Illegal Dump Found in Batesville

A 3/4 acre illegal dump has been found on Henry Chiles’ land in Batesville, Brandon Shulleeta reports in today’s Daily Progress. The pile—eight feet tall in places—contains thousands of bags of trash, large appliances, batteries, and tires. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is investigating, and they suspect that there’s a severe amount of resulting pollution of the soil and water. Mr. Chiles—the owner of Crown Orchard, best known for its peaches—says that he doesn’t know anything about a dump. It’s not unusual for conveniently-located vacant land to end up as an illegal dump for third parties, though something of this scale would have to be unusual.

30 thoughts on “Sizable Illegal Dump Found in Batesville”

  1. Check out their website at:

    Current tagline says: Charlottesville’s Tastiest Tradition since 1912….

    Add on to that?

    – No harm, no foul.
    – 5,000 birds can’t be wrong.
    – We’ve put down roots here so you can, too.
    – How green is my valley?
    – We’re piling it up for you.
    – We won’t leave you holding the bag.
    – Pick up some fruit and leave your cares behind.
    – Grab a bushel and leave a bag.
    – We’ll turn you green, too.
    – Fruit and recycling; it’s the new synergy.
    – Just follow your nose!
    – Country spring water just like Newark.
    – Where everything is just peachy!

  2. Pardon my ignorance, but how does this sort of thing start? Are “illegal dumps” the result of random people dumping their trash on unsupervised land or are they the result of someone with some land accepting money from people who want to dump some trash?

  3. I imagine this wouldn’t be too hard to investigate: find some recent-looking trash bags, open ’em up, and look for discarded mail. Find the person whose trash it is, and ask them if they use a trash service. If they do, then prosecute the trash hauler. If not, prosecute the individual.

    Repeat until the truth comes out.

  4. Okay, I think this is where the site is

    If you review where the dump is (and the road in general), it seems pretty clear that this couldn’t happen without the landowners knowledge.

    As a neighbor and someone concerned about that area, my preference would be to see the DEQ take the following steps:

    1) Require a complete cleanup of the site

    2) Per the EPA’s guidance, habitat restoration should be included in the clean up plan.

    3) In lieu of a fine, require the landowner to place a sizable portion of the adjacent forested property in conservation easement (or if the contamination is *really* bad, then require donation of a local park).

  5. Which of the two options is the dump? I see one right behind the first set of trees and another options further up and away. How anyone could miss the near one is tough to see, the further site is conceivably far enough away for lack of knowledge to be a potential.

  6. Pardon my ignorance, but how does this sort of thing start? Are “illegal dumps” the result of random people dumping their trash on unsupervised land or are they the result of someone with some land accepting money from people who want to dump some trash?

    Small dumps are often the result of random people dumping their trash on unsupervised land, or so I understand. The catch, though, is that’s only plausible if you’ve got an appropriate chunk of land accessible from a minor (often unimproved road). Often you’re looking at a steep dropoff on one side of the road, for instance, which allows somebody to dump the trash in an inconspicuous spot without having to drive around on private property for a while to find it. I’ve never heard of basically running an illegal commercial dump, but I guess stranger things have happened.

    If either of the spots on the map that Lonnie picked out are the site of the dump, I have a very difficult time believing that anybody was dumping waste there that Mr. Chiles didn’t know about. (Especially combined with NBC-29’s story.) Hawkins is right, though—the best way to ID trash is always the simplest, which is to tear open some bags and look for addresses. The sort of people who dump illegally are generally not the sort of people with the sense to scrub their waste of identifying details.

  7. Lonnie I don’t believe for two seconds the landowner would allow such a thing. Mr. Chiles is not the kind of person who would allow this to happen to his land. Your assertion is based on nothing and defames a man who has doen much to preserve a rural part of the county.

  8. I don’t know if you can say bulldozing the local forests and planting orchards is exactly “preserving a rural party of the county”… but I’ll leave that up to others to debate.

    In any event – of course he was aware. The man’s business is land. I think most of us would quickly notice a single full bag of trash if it was left on our properties, let alone three quarters of an acre of trash.

    More importantly, as (another) neighbor in the area, I’m less interested in judging the guy and more interested in finding out what environmental damages there are and what will be done to clean up the area and remediate any issues that have arisen due to the dumping.

  9. to be honest I was dubious until the burning was shown. It seems hard to believe one wouldn’t take notice of a big pile of trash burning on ones property

  10. AB- So if no one turns land to food, will you mind if most of the world starves? Your comment seems gratuitous and inflammatory. You dont like fruit?

    And unless he says he knew, or has someone that has seen him at the site, it is a rush to judgement to say what you do with such Hegelian absolutism.

    So while you say you are less interested in judging, you sure do just that. It is a mighty high horse you ride around on…

    If he knew of the dump, he needs to pay for everything related to the issue. But a man is innocent until proven guilty. Or would you like to water board him into the truth?

  11. Whoa there… slow down before you hurt yourself. Water boarding? Seriously?…

    So because I say that what he’s doing isn’t an act of preservation, suddenly I want to see the world starve.

    I’ve seen a local hillside turned to a mountain of red mud over the last few months. I understand – that’s business, that’s growth, that’s soon-to-be fresh delicious apples, but it sure ain’t preservation.

    I still like apples.

    I don’t really care if the guy was “aware” or not, though I’d find it hard to believe he wasn’t. If there are car batteries and chemical-filled light bulbs leaking into our drinking water, then I want it cleaned up. He is the owner of a business and “aware” or not, he’s responsible for the property that his business operates on.

  12. Thank you Waldo for posting this story and opening it up for discussion.

    This is a very important issue – and whether the property owner was aware or unaware of the trash is obviously going to be part of the investigation/story. The owners knowledge about the dumping is secondary to the ramifications of trash being dumped on land.

    (Way back) in 1995-1998, my next door neighbors would change the oil in their cars and pour the old oil around the perimeter of their house to prevent termite invasion. This was rather interesting to me at the time since I was unaware of this very affordable and simple way to prevent insect infestation. It became even more interesting when you toss in the fact that we all had our own wells and we lived on the Chesapeake Bay. As far as I know, my children show no signs of gill growth or excessive eye sockets but I do stay alert for those sort of things. ;)

    The property where the trash is being dumped is a very big deal if you look at the other farms, orchards, vineyards, and residences that surround it. Hopefully we will all be able to learn more about the ramifications of something as “simple” as trash piling up to this level without anyone noticing or reporting until it got to this level. I guess the bright side might be that a new species (indigent to Central Virginia) appears in the future and our area is featured on YouTube or maybe even CNN.

    Snide comment (can’t help myself so ignore this part if you aren’t into snideness):
    “danpri” should realize that most people don’t have any idea what “Hegelian absolutism” means, won’t take the time to figure it out, and hopefully have better things to do with their lives.

  13. There’s absolutely no excuse for this. Whether he knew about it or not (and having been on that property myself, I’m pretty sure he probably did know) the owner has to be held responsible. He should receive a hefty fine in addition to helping to foot the bill for the extensive clean-up that will be required. Why should we pay for what he’s done? He’s got the money. It’s not an either/or thing– clean-up OR fine. It should be both.

    I hope a thorough investigation is done that also involves going through the trash. Whoever brought it there needs to be prosecuted too. I’ve done that many times with the trash that’s been dumped behind my house and the county police have always been very helpful following up. Quite a few times, the trash has been dumped there by people who were paid to take it to the dump. Instead they pocketed the money and it became my problem.

    I think trash dumpers and litterers are about as bottom of the barrel as you can get.

  14. How could anyone in the area NOT know about an acre of 8 foot piles of trash burning?

    My point is that you are innocent until proven guilty. This is still America and attacks of persons unwise without actual knowledge. Indignant assumptions do not make actual knowledge of other behaviors.

    Or do liberals stay that way as long as NIMBY applies?

  15. You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

    I was gonna have to say it if somebody else didn’t. :)

    We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the city dump.

    Well, we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across the dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

    We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff, and at the bottom of the cliff was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw ours down.

    On another note, I have to wonder—if it turns out that this is Mr. Chiles’ refuse—whether we’ll see some of the property rights folks arguing that it’s a man’s right to pile up his own trash on his own property.

  16. You know, danpri, your indignation would make sense if people posting on this board had the power to lock up Mr. Chiles and were in fact deliberating over just that — we’d have no real evidence, we’d just be speculating, we’re mostly leaning towards “guilty,” and on that (unfair) basis we’d be deciding his fate.

    But in fact what you have here, and what you have at every office water cooler, gathering place where people chat over the day’s news, is a bunch of people expressing their opinions. Most people are assuming he knew about the dump. We might be wrong; we don’t know. It’s called talking about a current event. Everyone does it. The legal system is required to consider everyone innocent until they are proven guilty; we are not the legal system. Unbunch your panties.

  17. I guess the question that comes to my mind is…now that this dumping place has been exposed and the heat is on, where will the illegal dumpers go next? Be alert for those pickup trucks loaded with junk driving down the country road at the crack of dawn or late at night.

  18. Cecil – Your advice is good. Personally, I need to follow it; bunched-up underwear is not comfortable.

  19. I want Mr Chiles to have his day in court but I have a set of facts that make me think he some level of awareness. However I am not asking for him to punished in any way till he has his day in court.

    For the record I would find it quite possible that he had no direct knowledge but that will require many more facts then have been published.

  20. Ignorance of the law is no excuse; you can’t just let your property be used for things like dumping and dog fighting.

  21. What I have learned in this thread:

    1- Ignorance of the law is no excuse. But I think we all knew this already.
    2- An illegal trash dump was discovered.
    3- The landowner knew it was there.
    4- The landowner should have known it was there.
    5- Mr. Chiles is not the kind of person who would allow this to happen to his land. (I believe this)
    6- A set of facts exist somewhere that states the landowner had or should have had some level of awareness of the dump.
    7- It’s the landowner’s trash!
    8- Is it illegal if it’s the landowner’s trash?
    9- AB rides around on a mighty horse. Why the heck hadn’t he or she noticed the trash before now? :)
    10- Skip the court, hang the landowner at noon.
    11- Whoever did the dumping will have to find a new location.
    12- No dog fighting in the county.
    13- And the most sensible two comments so far….
    A) “if people posting on this board had the power to lock up Mr. Chiles and were in fact deliberating over just that — we’d have no real evidence, we’d just be speculating, we’re mostly leaning towards “guilty,” and on that (unfair) basis we’d be deciding his fate.”
    B)”The legal system is required to consider everyone innocent until they are proven guilty.”

  22. A friend of the family has a recycling business at Zion Crossroads and the county is suing him. How about spending money on a transfer station in Crozet instead of lawyers to torment business people. Maybe this trash piled up because its an 80 mile round trip to the authorized county transfer station at Zion Crossroads.

  23. ps – What I have learned in this thread:

    #14 – If the city goes up one more time on the cost of collecting trash, and I decide to dump my trash (somewhere), make sure there’s nothing in the trash that will identify me. :)

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