by Dale Freeman, Tyler County EMC
Now that we have enacted a burn ban, we are now experiencing some other problems. Many in Tyler County chose to not subscribe to a weekly trash pick-up. Many burn their combustible garbage, but with the burn ban in place, they no longer have that option without an incinerator or a burn barrel with a screen. The legal option left is to take their trash to the collection site located on CR 1010 near the baseball park.
What is not a viable option is dumping your trash on the side of the road. Saturday, August 22, I got a call from Chuck Vonderlin of Ivanhoe. Someone had dumped a large amount of trash on Sir Robert Burns Street between Ivanhoe Estates and Charmaine South. I met Vonderlin there and we picked up the trash, while inspecting it for identifying information of its owner. It just so happens that we found some. All total, we came up with six bags and a large box and a small box of trash. We carried the trash to an authorized dumpster and properly disposed of it.
The trash I believed all total weighed more than a hundred pounds. If we considered it to weigh less than five pounds, as we did, it would be a Class C Misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $500. If it weighed between five and five hundred pounds, it could be a Class B Misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and $2000 fine.
The owner of the trash would have had to pay about Twenty five dollars a month for weekly pickup or $1.50 to $2 a bag at the Collection Site. What would have been about ten to twelve dollars at the Collection Site for proper disposal will now cost them a whole lot more. The fine for illegal dumping Class C is up to $500 and our Justice of Peace has committed to assessing penalties approaching the maximum fines. Deputy Terry Riley received the information of this violation and I accompanied him to the residence where the trash was identified as originating. A citation was issued to the resident.
The violation of illegal dumping is a "strict liability" offense. If it is your trash, then you are responsible for the disposal of it. Any deviation of the proper disposal places the identified owner in violation of the law. In many cases, when a citation is issued, the violator tells of having paid someone else to carry away their trash. That may or may not have been the truth but it does not matter. Regardless, the owner is still responsible if the person they hire illegally dumps their trash.
Also not a viable option is dumping your household garbage in the dumpsters of businesses or those dumpsters provided for park use. That will also get you a citation for illegal dumping.