Help! My valley is getting overwhelmed with illegal dumps! : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

I'm the Chairman of a local citizens' advisory committee in Oregon. We've lately been trying to find a practical solution to a growing problem in our area: GARBAGE.

The biggest issue is illegal trash dumping. Ever since the local dump had to raise fees in an attempt to monitor/clean up the underlying groundwater, there has been a veritable explosion of trash dumping. This takes place on vacant land, Forest Service land, Bureau of Land Management land, and along public roads.

Some of this trash is merely unsightly. Some is a true health hazard. One resident a couple of miles up the road from here has a pile of garbage in front of his mobile home which has grown so large that it has rendered the mobile home invisible from the road! This has resulted in lots of flies, yellow jackets, and rats infesting his neighbors, or so they have told me.

I am wondering if any of you folks have had similar experiences, and how you have dealt with it.

My group has talked to the county commissioners, the county health department, and state DEQ. We've met a lot of disinterest in the problem, for the most part, although our commissioners asked if we'd be willing to be part of a "citizens' study committee" to come up with potential solutions. This suggestion may or may not be a way tfor the commissioners to postpone taking any action. Not sure.

Some ideas we've come up with so far: make people clean up their dumps, plus pay a fine for illegal dumping on others' property, enforceable if there is evidence of whose garbage it is.

Require people who do "yard cleanup" to take out a permit, and show proof that the garbage has actually been taken to the dump, rather than dumped on the side of the road.

Free garbage pickup throughout the county, payed for by taxes. It seems, intuitively, that it would be cheaper for a large truck to carry lots of people's garbage to the dump, than for all of us to drive a single load to the dump in separate vehicles. Also, this would force scofflaws to pay for disposing of their garbage, so that maybe they'd avoid dumping it off the side of the road.

I wonder if anyone's county or other rural area has publicly funded trash pickup, how much it costs, and how well it's worked for you.

Currently, it costs over fifty bucks to dump a single small pickup load of household trash at the "sanitary land fill". It's not surprising that folks who are short on cash act on the temptation to save the money by illegal dumping, unfortunately.

I appreciate any ideas ya'll can come up with! Thanks.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002


JOJ, a lot of problems around here....they just closed a local transfer station, and the back roads are now becoming littered (again) with trash.

My peecee is acting up and I'm supposed to be typing for Mr. S. (his new resume) so I hafta go. I will check in again.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

Small pickup load here (in Snohomish County) is $17.00 (or so) to dump. Maybe that's part of your problem...high transfer fees.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002

JOJ we have maybe 10 bucks a load but our problem is to toss a t.v. you pay 35$ and a fridge is 40$. Guess where they all end up now?

I don't have a clue how to stop the dumping at 50$ a load! Somehow that cost has got to come down......Kirk

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

Joe, Every year in the spring, we can haul old appliances, tv's, water heaters, etc. to the landfill for free. I guess they take other trash, too, but we buy so little and recycle everything, that all we had was the old water heater. The reason it is free is that the #$%&* landfill is in our township. It's the least they can do I guess. Anyone know how to recycle old water heaters?

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

Here in Penobscot, Me. there is no charge at our local dump. The residents are given dump stickers for their vehicles and whoever is on duty at the dump checks for them. We have very limited recycling locally, but it's available if you take your recyclables to another town in our county. Used to have roadside pickup for that, but the company decided there wasn't enough people in town to make it profitable!! Our dump takes appliances, demolition debris, metals, tires, furniture...just about everything...for free, and from here it is hauled off to some transfer stations...but we do pay a little extra in our yearly town taxes for this convenience. We also have roadside pickup for household garbage which goes to the PERC plant (Penobscot Energy Recovery Center) where it's sorted then burned for electricity. We do pay for pickup service ($5.00 per week). We have practically no roadside trash (other than the occasional "Micky D" stuff!) and if you get caught throwing trash out of your vehicle, it's a $200.00 fine...first offense! We are also allowed to "dump pick" which takes some of the burden off the town to get rid of it. Whether or not you could work some of these systems into yours...I don't know. I do know that most folks HATE having to pay for some things, especially dumping an old refrigerator or stove! As honest as most of us are, if the chance comes along to get away with it for free...some of people will do it :-)!! Good Luck, joj!!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

Thanks, folks, I've posted this on three different forums, and I'm going to compile all the anwers for ideas to kick around with my group.

Yes, the high cost at the dump certainly seems to be the root cause of the problem. We do have recycling, but I don't know how many people use it (even though it's free), and I've heard that a large part of the recycled materials are never reused, but just hauled to the dump instead, due to not enough market demand. Frustrating, if true!

Vicki, I've used old water heaters for solar water heating systems. It depends what's wrong with it; for instance, if it's just bad electric elements, or a bad heater (gas,propane), the tank is still often ok. If it's a leak, it's a different problem. I used to use leaky tanks as water storage tanks up at my spring. Just turned the leak upwards, and the tanks would generally last for ten or twenty years. I even took a leaky electric water heater tank once, which was just dripping slowly, and used it as a hot water storage tank on a wood powered hot water heater I built. This was a low pressure system, and the tank "cured" itself! I sold the house five years ago, after I'd used this same system for almost twenty years, and the tank STILL doesn't leak!

I've also used just the tank part of old water heaters as burn barrels, although I prefer pressure tanks, as they are generally built with thicker steel, and last, seemingly, forever.

Vicki, Marcia, do you know how much you are paying in taxes for this "free" service? I'm very interested in getting something like that set up here. I found out that the County of Maui (where one the other board members in my CAC used to live) charges only six bucks per month for garbage pickup (for six cans!), but its actual cost is $240 per year, which is presumably collected in some form of tax.

Penobscot. I love that name; it's the name of my canoe! (Old Towne Penobscot) Great boat!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

When we register vehicles (including boats, trailers, cars etc.) here in town, we pay an "excise" tax along with the registration fee. A percentage of this excise goes to the state for state sponsored "free" services and the rest stays in town for "free" local services (dump, some inhome nursing care, fire dept. and other things). Not sure how it's divided up, but the system seems to work. And most folks I know pay very little, if any, state taxes!!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

joj...forgot to mention that the cost of this excise tax is based on the age of the vehicle being registered. My '64 Dodge Polara costs me $9.00 a year and our '00 Dodge pickup costs us $300.00 a year...which will be less and less each year. Our boat is an '89 and costs $30.00 a year.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

Joe, Our township tax bill is $108 a year. This is for road repair, plowing, ditch mowing, and the take your trash to the landfill day. I'm not sure what is charged per pickup truck load, but it musn't be a whole lot, because OH gets everyone else's garbage. Especially from NY and NJ. This landfill is a little over 2 miles from my house and I can see it from my kitchen window. We unaffectionately call it Trashcan Mountain. One hell of a way to ruin some of the finest farmland in the world. And it wasn't even there when we moved here. At the very least they should let me go trashpicking there!

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

Fifty dollars for a small pick up load? Damn! I've never seen a rich man's dump before. I don't think it takes a genius to figure out why ya'll are having a illegal dumping problem.

Years ago there was a show on the television about a little city that was having problems with their land fill. To make a long story as short as possible, this town converted their dump in to a methane plant! Soon, they converted all their city vehicles to methane and converted all their city buildings to heat and cool with methane. Then, they started taking trash from surrounding counties and making them pay, of course, for the privilege of dumping in their dump. Within a few years they built a new, expensive city hall and court rooms, lowered taxes and had excess money in the fund. I only saw this show one time and that's the last I've ever heard about it. Wonder why?

Wildman, (curious)

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2002

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