While attending what were called “Litter Summits” in 2001 and 2002 put on by Keep Iowa and Nebraska Beautiful, I noticed that a large number of the “Keep Beautiful” programs in the state of Nebraska were run by or at least had an office within the Department of Health in different regions.
I can see that tie since health problems arise from illegal dumping. Issues like West Nile virus happen from illegally dumped tires and vermin which come into contact with garbage and can spread disease. Something a lot of people don’t think about — it is a danger to those who have to pick it up.
How do we stop this illegal dumping? We were able to hear the Lancaster County (Nebraska) sheriff speak about his experiences with illegal dumping and how his department had a lot of luck finding criminals through reports on illegal dumpers. Sheriff Wagner said about a third of their calls were about litter or illegal dumping. He said they actually liked when the public would call in about these crimes. Many times they found wanted people through these reports.
Boone County is fortunate to have a Code Enforcement Officer. Calls and reports are given to the Code Enforcement Officer, David Frost. Frost will go to these reported illegal dumping sites and sort through the items to see if he can find any names, addresses or anything to tie the illegally dumped items to a person or persons. Once he finds this information, he contacts the party to have them come clean it up. They have to provide scale tickets from the landfill proving that they appropriately got rid of the garbage. Fines can also be assessed. The county illegal dumping reporting phone number is 1-877-2NODUMP (1-877-266-3867).
A covered load policy is enforced at the Boone County Landfill. To prevent any type of waste from blowing onto area roadways and into ditches, Boone County adopted a policy in 1996 that all loads (yard waste, garbage, demolition, appliances, etc.) delivered to the landfill must be covered with a secured tarp, even if waste is in bags or containers. Trucks and trailers must also have a tailgate. The only exception to this policy is brush that can be securely tied instead of being tarped. Failure to comply with this covered load policy results in a fine anywhere from $10 to $100 being assessed. This policy, and the compliance of most landfill customers, has significantly reduced the amount of liter and waste along Montana Road.
Information provided by Lois Powers, Boone County Landfill Administrative Services and Keep Boone County Beautiful Coordinator