County officials warn of dangers with illegal trash dumping

Updated: Nov. 26, 2019 at 5:46 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Near major roads and rivers you’ll see signs warning people against illegally dumping.

Whether it’s mattresses, tires or even min-campers, county officials are having to be on clean-up duty almost every day to handle the problem.

“It’s all over,” said Wichita County Commissioner Mark Beauchamp, “it’s sporadic and random and you never know where/when.”

Archer County’s Chief Deputy added, “just about anything that somebody would think might dump, we’ve had dumped out here somewhere.”

Beauchamp said on more than one occasion he’s been driving home from work to see something blocking a county road. With a large amount of the county to cover he said it’s difficult to track down people who leave their trash behind.

“There’s no way we can police eighty miles of roadway with our staff,” he explained.

He and Archer County Chief Deputy Simon Dwyer both agree most people have a similar motive behind illegally dumping.

“Well, it’s convenient and they don’t think they’re going to get caught,” said Dwyer.

But Dwyer added that isn't the case as often anymore.

“They won’t believe they’ll be discovered. That is changing,” he said, “technology has made it a little harder to do that.”

Archer County’s Sheriff’s Office, as well as other across Texoma, have utlized cameras from doorbells or game cameras off private property to find makes and models of cars. Dwyer said they’ve also used cellular GPS technology to help pin suspects to certain locations.

And the consequences can be criminal.

Dumping items under five pounds can lead to a citation. Anywhere between five and 500 pounds, and a person could be looking at jail time.

“The law covers anywhere in the public, or even on a private road, that someone might think ‘well it’s out of the way I can just dump this stuff here.’ Well, no,” Dwyer said, “by law you can’t.”

If you see anyone tossing their unwanted belongs and have any identifiers you can give, reach out to to your local law enforcement.

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