If you see smoke rising from Sanctified Hill in Cumberland, it isn't a sign from above.
It's just workers trying hard to save the city of Cumberland a lot of money.
In a letter dated Aug. 9, the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet notified the city of Cumberland that it was in violation of state guidelines because of an illegal dump atop Sanctified Hill.
According to a report filed following an Aug. 21 inspection, the state found household garbage and brush. Over 60 tons of debris was estimated to be at the site. The state called for the city to "immediately cease the disposal or allowing the disposal of waste" at any unauthorized site, clean up the property and prove the work was performed before a deadline of Sept. 12, 2005.
Cumberland Mayor Carl Hatfield said Sanctified Hill was given to the city after the state condemned the property. At one time, there were several homes on Sanctified Hill, but they have disappeared under the brush. The area has been used as a dump for many years, Hatfield said.
This week, work crews from the city of Cumberland worked to clear and burn most of the debris.
If the city misses the deadline, a fine of $25,000 per day could be levied by the state.
Maintenance supervisor David Sexton, who is overseeing the project, expects the job to be completed by Friday.
When the work is done, access to an old cemetery will return.
Hatfield said he expects to meet with Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop and solid waste coordinator Lakis Mavinidis about the possibility of obtaining PRIDE money to cover the cost of the clean-up.