A set of living room furniture illegally dumped on the side of the road in south Hillsborough County, is just one example of the growing problem posing a public nuisance. The Sheriff’s Office has stepped up its effort to catch and arrest those responsible.
“With all the services and County Collection Centers around, which are free to the public, there is absolutely no reason for people to have to dump their trash or junk over the side of the road,” said Hillsborough County detective Larry McKinnon, drawing the attention to the topic of illegal dumping.
Even so, abandoned piles of household garbage, furniture, yard waste, old appliances and used tires, are just a few that top the list of illegally dumped items that are found all over Hillsborough County.
While not a new problem, it is becoming more and more prevalent, threatening the health of humans, wildlife and the environment. It is also a public nuisance, which is why the sheriff’s office countywide, seven-member team of experienced detectives is on alert to track down and arrest those responsible.
“Illegal dumping has become a major problem,” said 17-year veteran detective Jose Sanchez. “Almost anywhere you go in the county you can find something at the bottom of ravines, in empty lots and along roadsides.”
Sanchez emphasized that while illegal dumping is, in fact, widespread and continual, the problem does not have to be permanent.
“Many of the incidents could be avoided with some education on proper disposal and by providing the community with information on the free services available to dispose of many household items,” Sanchez said.
According to detectives, the first part of the education process is to recognize that, if left alone, the problem will grow larger and attract more dumping by others. Ultimately, it is more costly to the taxpayer.
The second aspect of the education is the fact that the county offers many free programs to teach the public how and where to dispose of old, unwanted items.
Hillsborough County’s Solid Waste Management has several community collection centers for people to utilize. “There is really no excuse for dumping anything,” Sanchez said. “It is just laziness.”
Rounding up the third aspect of education, Sanchez said, when caught, an individual may face a misdemeanor which means $105 non-criminal civic fine, while a business, illegally dumping tires or landscape debris, will automatically be charge with a felony, which can mean $500 and/or a year in prison.
The sheriff’s office asks that if someone witnesses illegal dumping, call law enforcement immediately.
For more information, visit the county ‘s Solid Waste Facilities page at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/solidwaste/about/locationsnumbers.cfm?option=centers.
Available local collection centers:
Alderman Ford Facility, located at 9402 C.R. 39 in Lithia, 757-3820. Accepts collectible waste, non-collectible waste, scrap metal, tires and lead acid batteries.
Northwest County Facility, SR. 579, located at 8001 West Linebaugh Ave. 264-3816. Accepts collectible waste, non-collectible waste, scrap metal, tires, lead acid batteries and recyclable curbside materials.
South County Facility, located at 13000 U.S. Hwy. 41, north of Big Bend Rd. 671-7611. Accepts collectible waste, non-collectible waste, scrap metal, tires, and lead acid batteries.