County Cracking Down on Illegal Dumpers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 7:52am

Officials say it's not really a growing problem, but it's definitely not getting any better.

News Center 23's Na'Tassia Finley has more on illegal dumping and what the county plans to do about it.

People dump because they just don't want to pay for waste pick up service, that's according to Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera. Dump sites like the one off Joines Rd in San Benito continue popping up in rural parts of the county.

"it's expensive to clean up, you have to get crews out here to clean it up, ultimately costing the tax payers thousands and thousands of dollars," says Barrera.

On top of costing tax payers money it's a health hazard in cases like this one.

"Anywhere where there is water, there's a canal right next door, so anywhere the trash can find its way into the canal and plug up some kind of system also causes bigger problems," says Barrera.

That's evident through out several areas of the nearby canal and the majority of the dumped trash is tires and other large pieces of debris, which can can eventually harm irrigation systems and our drinking water.

But reducing the number of illegal dump sites is hopefully in the works with the help of a little technology.

"As far as catching or recording people, we are hoping to partner up with Walmart or Lowes or Home Depot and setting up some game cams so that we can apprehend some of these people that are dumping in the middle of the night or all hours of the day really," says Barrera.

But in the meantime, they do it the old fashioned way, they sift through trash bags with their hands.

"This is a medical record. This trash bag we just went through carried a lot of information on this individual’s kids, what school they go to, but it also had medical records, give a breakdown or what their medical condition is and this is the vital info we need to be able to identify these people," says Barrera.

Improperly disposing of personal information like this is dangerous in terms of identity theft, but for authorities it's very helpful when linking a person to a crime, like illegal dumping.

The county will use papers gathered from the trash bag as evidence in hopes of securing a warrant for the person they believe is responsible for dumping one of the larger trash piles on Joines Rd.

Now if you witness someone illegally dumping you’re urged to call the Cameron Co. Sheriff’s Office at 554-6700 or the Cameron Co. Emergency Coordinator’s Office at 547-7000.

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