McDuffie County Departments

Code Enforcement - County

An introduction to provide a better understanding of Code Enforcement and how the enforcement of the regulations help to provide awareness to the citizens of McDuffie County so that we all may live in a safe and clean environment.

Quick Links:
McDuffie County Ordinances

What is Code Enforcement?

A Code Enforcement Officer is a sworn or non-sworn inspector, officer or investigator, employed by a city, or county, who possesses specialized training in, and whose primary duties are the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of violations of federal, state laws and local ordinances regulating public nuisance, public health, safety, and welfare, public works, business activities and consumer protection, building standards, land-use, or municipal affairs."  Traditionally, it has been a process whereby local governments use various techniques to gain compliance with duly-adopted regulations such as land use and zoning ordinances, health and housing codes, sign standards, and uniform building and fire codes. In recent years, federal and state regulations governing air and water quality and the transport and storage of hazardous wastes, and requirements for implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act have come into play.

The local code enforcement official is a public servant whose responsibility lies squarely between policy making and the realms of law enforcement and litigation. The U. S. Congress, state legislatures, the city councils and county boards of supervisors adopt policies, codes, rules and regulations to solve problems or respond to federal, state, or community mandates. Enforcement applies these laws to specific properties, either by using warnings and notices to persuade voluntary compliance or by filing court actions, all under the rubric of ‘police powers’. Local enforcement officials and those who enforce the policies, codes, rules, and regulations are obligated to understand the management of the code enforcement function and the entire complex process."

The goal of the Code Enforcement Official shall be to enforce the regulations mandated by the federal, state and local jurisdiction to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment in order to provide a high quality of life for the residents, businesses, and guest that visit our community. In addition to state regulations the local jurisdiction has adopted its own ordinances. The McDuffie County Ordinances are available online to review at your convenience.  

Investigations of complaints are conducted from citizen's complaints and concerns. The information you provide is kept confidential. The goal is to provide citizens of our community a way of protecting the value and appearance of their own property. The contact information for the Code Enforcement Official can be found in the Planning Commission’s Staff Directory in order to file a complaint.

In addition to the McDuffie County Ordinances, there are other Codes that are enforced as well.

Housing and International Property Maintenance Code
This code establishes minimum standard for occupancy. It is construed to secure the beneficial interest and purposes thereof which are public safety, health and general welfare through structural strength, stability, sanitation, adequate light, ventilation, and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards. This code is used most often when a tenant or other person is occupying a residential structure.
All building or structures, both existing and new, and all parts thereof, shall be

Property Maintenance Code
All building or structures, both existing and new, and all parts thereof, shall be maintained in safe and sanitary condition. This code provides for the maintenance of buildings and its premises. 

Unsafe Building AbatementCode
This code is used for both residential and commercial properties. This code regulates buildings that are in a state of disrepair, open and vacant, and which are dangerous to health, safety, and general welfare of the public. This code also exists to protect life and property from fire and other hazards.

Public Nuisance & Nuisance Abatement Code
This ordinance deals with odor, decay refuse rubble, overgrown vegetation, fumes, gases, or any other threat or inconvenience to public.

This is a state code that is currently being used on open, vacant, and dilapidated structures instead of using the 60-day unsafe building abatement code. Use of this code reduces the time and allows for a legal process to eliminate these structures in a timely fashion.  Note that the time limit may vary according to the particular circumstances.

Keep McDuffie County Beautiful Campaign 
This is part of the Keep Georgia Peachy Clean and the Keep America Beautiful Campaign.

Each year citizens and businesses have pulled together to organize clean-up activities that are scheduled by each group along our roadways. Usually this takes place in the spring of the year then everyone gets busy and kind of fades away even though some hang in there. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to take pride in our community to make it a cleaner place to live. So many answers or excuses are given on “why or how” the trash and/or litter is scattered on our roadways. If individuals would put more effort towards covering and securing what they haul, or stop throwing litter out the windows of their vehicles the problem would be solved. We are our community, let’s work together to prevent and protect our community from unsightly waste.

McDuffie County Adopt A Road Program
In addition to the cleanup programs we have rekindled the “McDuffie County Adopt A Road Program”.  Individuals of our community requested that the program to be brought back to life. The program is now up and running. Individuals have signed up to adopt a road and have agreed to maintain the cleanup of their roads. How does the program work? You may adopt any road in the County. The County will provide a sign informing individuals what group, business, neighbors, and/or individual has adopted the road. The County will also supply the bags and pick up the bags after the clean up at no cost. It is a great program and demonstrates the pride that individuals have in their community. Come on join up. For more information in regards to the program you may email or contact Gail Newsome at (706)597-7283. Look forward to hearing from you. 

Environmental Compliance:
Environmental Regulations are mandated by Federal, State, City and County Municipalities. Environmental issues are anything that negatively affects land, air and water. Model Ordinances are set forth by different agencies and passed down to Municipalities to enforce. Enforcement is not limited to municipalities and/or local jurisdictions. Enforcement may be issued on a Federal and State level even though the violation occurred within a local jurisdiction. Environmental violations are taken seriously and can provoke serious fines and or penalties such as incarceration. These are just a few of the violations that require an investigation: 

  • Illegal dumpsites and Litter
  • Burning of household trash
  • Improper disposal of solid waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Improper disposal or spills of Oil, Gas, Diesel Fuel,

If you see someone who is improperly disposing of these items, please call Gail Newsome, the McDuffie County Enforcement Official at (706) 597-7283 or you may contact the Environmental Hotline which is  (1-800) Clean-Up, then enter the zip code located in Georgia where the violation exist and you will be provided with the contact person and other information needed.

Demolition / Asbestos Inspection
Contractors and Property Owners

Caution: It is in the best interest of property owner and demolition contractors to follow the rules of all state, federal, and local regulations before engaging in any demolition activity.

Before the demolition of any structure you are required to a obtain a Demolition Permit. Before the issuance of the Permit you are required to schedule an inspection of the structure. You may email or contact Gail Newsome at (706) 597-7283 to schedule the inspection and/or to provide you with the requirements of the regulations.

Erosion and Sedimentation Control (E&SC)

Georgia’s Law is called the “Erosion and Sedimentation Act.”
Erosion and Sedimentation are two different processes that may occur during a Land Disturbing Activity. (LDA). If erosion is controlled, sediment is not produced. Allowing any erosion to occur is the first step toward non-compliance. Erosion control and sediment reduction does not require a rocket scientist or a “legal eagle”. What it means is good Best Management Practices, (BMP’S). The BMP’S are intended to provide minimum control for erosion and sedimentation problems as required by the State Law. While meeting the requirements of the State Law, land disturbers must also comply with all other local, state, federal laws, including the Army Corp of Engineers. 

Enforcement: The representative for the Local Issuing Authority (LIA) for McDuffie County is Gail Newsome. Before the issuance of a Land Disturbance Activity (LDA) permit, it is the responsibility of the Local Issuing Authority to ensure compliance of all regulations. You may email or contact me at (706) 597-7283 to discuss your project and to provide you the information that will be required to submit before the issuance of the Land Disturbing Permit.

NPDES – National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES-PERMIT)
This is a Federal and State program that also regulates Land Disturbing Activities. The Federal Clean Water Act and the Ga. Water Quality Control Act requires that the owner or operator of a Land Disturbing Activity obtain a NPDES Permit. This Permit regulates the discharge of storm water from Land Disturbing Activities.

Enforcement:  The Local Issuing Authority (LIA) for McDuffie County is Gail Newsome. Before the issuance of a Land Disturbance Activity (LDA) permit, it is the responsibility of the Local Issuing Authority to ensure

compliance of all regulations. You may email or contact me at (706) 597-7283 to discuss your project and to provide you the information that will be required to submit before the issuance of the Land Disturbing Permit.

EPD Enforcement Orders
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division uses enforcement actions to correct serious environmental problems and to bring businesses, individuals and government entities into compliance with environmental laws. The most common enforcement actions are consent orders and administrative orders. The order explains the nature of the problem details the action necessary to correct the problem and may or may not include a settlement amount or fine.

Use the box below to enter a word or phrase for which you want to search the DNR site and then click Go. This will display results for DNR, but you can use the Domains option under Advanced Search to search the EPD site by in the appropriate box. You can also search other individual Georgia agencies, all Georgia agencies at once, or only those hosted by If you need help, click on Search Tips.

Please Note: The Code Enforcement Site will be updated on changes with regulations and/or provide information to the citizens of McDuffie County to keep them informed of new programs that may develop. Individuals may contact: Gail Newsome by email or at (706) 597-7283 should you have any questions. 

Gail Newsome

Code Enforcement
Phone: 706-597-7283

210 Railroad Street
Thomson, Georgia 30824

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