Gila County Cracks Down On Illegal Dumping

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Complaints to Gila County officials about "wildcat dumping" are on the rise.

Seeing trash anywhere and everywhere has residents expressing anger in letters to the editor and phone calls to the county. The biggest complaint is the appearance that nothing is being done and that no one in county government is listening.

Not only are county officials listening, in some parts of the county they are watching as well, said Dave Pote, Director of Environmental Health for the Gila County Health Department.

Illegal dumping sites across the county are being identified. Some of these sites will have, or already have hidden video surveillance equipment provided by Gila County Sheriff's Office. The equipment will operate at night as well as in the daylight.

As for the litter already out there, Pote said the county has a clean-up plan as well. Volunteers and Gila County jail inmates will clean up illegal dumpsites, he said. Once the trash arrives at the landfill, workers will make an effort to identify the owner of the garbage.

If you see illegal dumping a telephone hotline has been set up. You can call 474-1210 or the countywide toll free number, 1-800-304-4452 extension 8517. Callers do not need to identify themselves, Pote said.

When reporting wildcat dumping, be sure to jot down some basic information: name, if known, license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, date, time and location.

Wildcat dumpers will be issued a citation and ordered to appear in court. Those who ignore one of the citations will likely find themselves spending time in the Gila County jail. The Gila County Attorney's Office can prosecute these crimes as a felony or misdemeanor, leaving convicted wildcat dumpers with a criminal record.

It's just not worth it when getting rid of your trash legally is easy, Pote said.

Gila County landfills will take used tires (up to five tires per person), oil from automobiles, and dead batteries. There is no charge to dispose of these items at Gila County landfills, said Sharon Radanovich, manager of Gila County Solid Waste Division. There is a charge for other trash and garbage items. For more information, Sharon can be reached in the Globe area at 425-3231 extension 8531 or statewide at 1-800-304-4452 extension 8531.

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