County crackdown on illegal dumping
Somebody making a mess, someplace they shouldn’t? Action taken by King County Councilmembers today might help. Read on for the full details:
The official county news release:
Those caught illegally dumping onto property in unincorporated and rural King County will now help pay for the damage they caused, as the Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted legislation to hold violators financially responsible.
“Illegal dumping occurs all over King County and especially in the rural areas of my district,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, sponsor of the ordinance. “King County has a responsibility to help protect our families, our property and our environment. As a resident of rural King County, I see the evidence of illegal dumping almost every day. This law will make people think twice before they dump garbage on the side of the road.”
Dunn said the County now spends up to $2 million a year to clean up the results of illegal dumping, with reports numbering in the hundreds. However, he said actual numbers may be much higher due to the low percentage of sites actually reported.
Under the ordinance adopted today, anyone convicted of illegal dumping will be charged a $100 fine and a restitution fee of twice the cost of cleanup or $100 per cubic foot, whichever is greater. Half of the money collected from the restitution fee will go to the landowner who was victimized by the illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping is a serious problem for public health and safety,” Dunn said. “It’s also a significant source of environmental damage. We will now have new tools for catching those who would put our citizens at risk.”
The ordinance also gives multiple County agencies the ability to enforce illegal dumping laws. Previously, all incidents had to go through the standard law enforcement process, which caused most cases to be dropped or not pursued. King County has hundreds of maintenance workers and other employees on the ground who can now help enforce the law, dramatically increasing the number of people on the lookout for illegal dumpers.
Today’s ordinance is the first in a two-step process headed by Councilmember Dunn to curtail illegal dumping. Working with County Executive Ron Sims, Dunn introduced an ordinance that will allow landowners who are the victims of illegal dumping to get a waiver for the fee of disposing the trash at a county landfill, in cases where the identity of the dumper cannot be determined.
Tags: illegal dumping
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