Illegal landfill owner avoids state by not taking mail

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The state is trying to shut down an illegal dump in Memphis, but the owner is frustrating the effort by refusing to accept certified letters.

The Environment and Conservation Department has sent two violation notices to landfill owner Glen Harris. They both has returned marked "unclaimed."

TDEC field officer Philip Davis says Harris is operating an eight-acre landfill, accepting construction and demolition debris, without a permit.

Under Tennessee law, dumping sites must undergo geological, archaeological and water testing and not be near residential areas, among other requirements, before getting state approval. Permit-related costs are about $15,000, according to the agency's Web site.

The agency could force the owner to clean up the site and impose fined up to $5,000 per day. If Harris doesn't respond to further mailings, the state could seek legal action.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)