A woman speaking on condition of anonymity provided The Star with photos of the property off Cave Road showing about 10 five-gallon buckets of hydraulic oil turned over resting on muddy ground. One photo included a pile of smaller black containers with black stains on the ground near them.
An apparently empty bucket of hydraulic oil could also be seen from Cave Road Monday, floating in a puddle at another service road on the property.
Though known as Weaver Cave, the property is in the city limits of Anniston.
Anniston code enforcement officer Tana Bryant said Ragland Timber Co. workers disposed of the containers on Tuesday, but the city has opened an investigation into the mess and any possible effects on the environment.
"Until I get reports back from various sources, I don't have anything concrete to say," Bryant said.
Jerome Hand, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, said department investigators also are looking into the matter.
Property owner Mack Crook said he had contracted Ragland Timber Co. to cut timber on the property for the land to be made into a Christian retreat.
Efforts Monday and Tuesday to reach Ragland Timber officials were unsuccessful, but Crook said workers had previously told him their plan was to take care of the containers after their work was finished.
Crook said he believes the containers are empty and doesn't think they could pollute the environment.
"I doubt it — there isn't enough for it to do that," he said.
Although it's on private property, Weaver Cave is frequented by area residents. The woman who saw the mess requested anonymity because she did not have Crook's permission to be there.
"It's none of her business," Crook said. "She should have called me."
The woman said the area where the canisters are, to the side of a dirt road leading into the property, stinks with the smell of fumes.
On Monday, Crook said he would ask workers to clean up their mess sooner.