Debris left behind in Douglas Lake

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JEFFERSON CO, Tenn. (WVLT) - Broken bottles, gas cans, and tires are best left in dumpsters.

But in Jefferson County, the trash made it's way to Douglas Lake.

Local 8 News first went to the lake outside of Dandridge two months ago right after floods had filled up drained areas and left behind piles of debris.

The good news is the cove has dried up. The bad news: the unsightly trash is still there.

"It's just a mess. Never seen it like this," said Laura Strange, who lives near the lake.

"This is the worst it's ever been in years," said Jerry Horvath, who lives along the lake.

In just weeks, the lake will be filled back up for summertime. But will this mess be gone?

"If this doesn't go away, are they gonna be able to swim if the water doesn't get high enough? What are they going to do, jump over it?" asked Horvath.

Tree limbs, Mountain Dew bottles, tin cans and even pill bottles litter what is supposed to be the beach.

"Oh yeah, can't you imagine this summer trying to put a boat in this. There's no way they'd get a boat in this," said Strange.

Laura Strange wants help to clean up, but doesn't even know what crews could do.

"I don't know what they can do. I mean it's a mess," said Strange.

"Where's this gonna go, that we're looking at today. And what's coming down when it does fill up again," said Horvath.

That's the biggest concern for him: if the trash does get washed away, where does it go? He has no answer for that, because he still doesn't know where it came from in the first place.

Both Horvath and Strange have grandchildren who visit and play in the water. But they said even if it's cleaned out, there's no way they are swimming this summer.

Some folks are doing what they can to clean up by collecting trash and burning small piles.

Horvath is convinced it'll take bulldozers to do the job correctly.

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