"The property in question was an old Interstate 20 debris pit site used for construction and demolition waste, but not household or industrial waste," said district DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure in an e-mail response to questions about the cleanup.
"We sold the site several years ago for future development. In the corner of this property, unknown to us and the buyer, additional debris was found," she said.
"At this time, we have hauled 900 dump truck loads to the Richmond County landfill at a cost of about $350,000."
According to Columbia County real estate records, the 38.6-acre site was sold in January 2005 for $455,000.
Its new owner, Charles Dunstan, won rezoning approval in December 2005 to develop as many as 166 residential lots.
Mr. Dunstan declined Thursday to comment on the cleanup, but acknowledged there was trash on the site that he was not aware of at the time it was purchased.
The residential development project, he said, remains in the engineering phase.
Before the 2005 rezoning, the site was zoned M-1, or light industrial.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or email@example.com.