Fires and Illegal Dumping

Fires and Illegal Dumping

Illegal Dumping can cause fires and combating illegal dumping is becoming a top priority for many cities throughout the world. The growing problem is created by those who do not want to pay fees associated with disposing of their waste legally, but who would rather risk stiff penalties and fines if they were to be caught committing the crime.


Lawfully disposed hazardous materials, such as used automobile oil, may at times incur various fees for its disposal. In an effort to avoid paying these fees, would-be dumpers simply find an area to dispose of these materials, and break the law by doing so.


There exists a vast array of materials that can be commonly found amidst the rubble in a pile of illegally dumped waste. Items that include household refuse, used automobile parts, and hazardous medical waste. While many items that compose an unlawfully dumped waste site often pose various health risks, flammable materials at an illegal dump site can cause serious harm.


Electronic waste and used automobile tires are some of the most commonly illegally dumped items. When exposed to high temperatures and decomposition within the dump site, these items can catch fire quickly. Due to the fact that many illegal dump sites are located in more rural areas, these dump site fires can spread to the surrounding habitat and lead to wide-scale forest fires.


When hazardous materials combust, the toxic air particles resulting from the site fire can have devastating consequences on humans and the surrounding wildlife, while polluting nearby ground and drinking water.


Repeat offenders and dumpers of various hazardous materials face heavier fines and possible jail time for dumping their garbage unlawfully, as they should.  Communities need tools, such as illegal dumping cameras, social media, and heavy fines to combat and prevent the dump sites from turning into a blazing inferno.   In addition to a means of prevention, it is up to our own communities to make sure those responsible for committing this odious act are held responsible. Be proactive, stop the problem before the community goes up in smoke!



Illegal Dumping: Fines and Community Service

Illegal Dumping: Fines and Community Service

“Trash begets trash” is a phrase that can easily sum up the growing problem of unlawfully dumped waste. The piles of illegally dumped materials often attracts other would-be dumpers to follow suit, further adding to the problem, and causing city officials to take action to try to prevent its recurrence. Some cities use serious fines and penalties, including community service, to help deter the crime of illegal dumping.


The cost of lawful waste disposal is among the many reasons people choose to commit this crime. Whether its cutting corners to save demolition and construction businesses money or citizens who do not want to pay out-of-pocket for the disposal fees, the crime amounts to the same; and it’s a serious one.


In addition to mandatory minimum fines and probation, many municipalities also handout lengthy community service hours. This community service often requires those who are convicted of illegal dumping to clean up popular dump sites. Community service not only cuts down on a city’s cost to clean up the sites, but also teaches perpetrators the kind of hard work and expense that goes into cleaning up these illegal dump sites. After completing their community service hours, it is rare that these wrongdoers go on to be repeat offenders of illegal dumping crimes.


Because illegal dumping is an issue that affects everyone in every neighborhood it occurs, local law enforcement and city prosecutors are determined to put a stop to this crime. Revised legislation and technology are the means by which city task-forces are accomplishing this goal. High-tech surveillance cameras are being placed in alleys and where popular dump sites are occurring, and consequently, reoccurring.


These illegal dumping cameras act as a two-fold means of deterring illegal dumping.

  • First as a means of identifying suspects and capturing evidence footage.
  • Second as a natural deterrent when the public is informed of its placement and an explanation of its use.


If your city has not yet introduced community service for illegal dumping crimes, it is time to think about it.


Illegal Dumping: An Environmental Crime

Illegal Dumping: An Environmental Crime

Even though many municipalities provide large bulk pickup programs, items such as: mattresses, used car parts, batteries, old appliances, and construction waste end up on sidewalks, roadways and remote locations, a sad environmental crime. Sometimes the unwanted expense of lawful means to dispose waste can be a factor when dealing with the problem of illegal dumping, but in a lot of cases convenience, an uncaring attitude towards the environment, and lax law enforcement contribute greatly to illegal dumping.

It is no coincidence that many items not properly or lawfully discarded are usually large bulk items that are difficult to deal with. Fees associated with the disposal of large bulk items or hazardous materials can fetch a high premium, and many companies are ever so diligent in finding new ways to cut corners and save on costs, which is convenient for them. However, a contradiction exists here. The disposal fees pale in comparison to criminal fines and have the ability to bankrupt a company convicted of illegal dumping, which is not convenient or desirable.

Even though some materials are extremely hazardous, often by-products of land clearing and demolition industries, these materials frequently make their way into illegal dumping sites and can contaminate ground and surface water. These environmentally unfriendly products include lead-based paints, used motor oil from gasoline-powered generators, and broken sections of drywall and insulation. If not disposed of in a lawful and federally regulated manner, hazardous materials can have disastrous effects to both the environment and our communities for decades to come, but these dumpers do not care.

The problem of illegal dumping only grows when nothing is done to stop it. Dump sites draw additional dumpers resulting in a “snowball” effect of large heaps of trash. Those persons who dump their garbage illegally are often drawn to remote, unsecured areas as well as areas around unattended waste containers.  Stiffer fines and tools designed to deter this activity in these remote areas are needed.

Barrel Dumped

Fires Caused by Illegal Dumping

Often, illegal dumping is an overlooked problem in both rural and populated areas. The severity of the issue, however, seems to grow alongside the piles of illegally dumped waste.

One of the most dangerous and critical complications that can arise from unlawfully disposed garbage is fire. It is not uncommon to hear of a precariously discharged cigarette butt or used automobile oil, one of the most common and improperly disposed waste products which can easily combust given the correct environmental conditions, being the cause of a large roadside inferno.

Some people, in an effort to cut corners and save money on fees, often attempt to burn the used scrap tires rather than utilize the lawful and proper methods of recycling. This kind of illegal action can have disastrous effects on the environment, as well as cause large-scale wildfires in rural areas. Other offenders of highly volatile and illegally dumped materials include demolition and land clearing contractors whose unused portions of explosive materials end up in unlawful trash heaps.

The devastating consequences of these blazes caused by illegal dumping are far-reaching. Entire families are often left homeless when their property and possessions are reduced to smoldering ashes. These fires leave little to no vegetation in the ground to prevent potential mud slides from occurring and causing even more wide-spread destruction.

Repeat offenders and dumpers of hazardous materials face higher penalties for dumping their garbage illegally but are rarely caught in the act. It is up to our communities to make sure those responsible for committing this ludicrous crime are held accountable.

Here are some actions items you can do to help your community with the Illegal Dumping problem:

  • Report any Illegal Dump Sites
  • If you witness the dumping, take a picture or write down:
    • The license plate number
    • The description of the vehicle
    • What was dumped
  • If the Illegal Dumping occurs on your private property, post signs according to the laws of your city.  (Following the city requirements allow code enforcement officers to help with appropriate action)
  • Talk with your city council about buying Illegal Dumping Cameras