FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2010
Citizens asked to report illegal dumping
Alert citizens spot, report dumping in Capitol State Forest
OLYMPIA – Law enforcement officials with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have identified a person of interest as they pursue a case of illegal trash dumping in the Capitol State Forest near Olympia. The incident highlights the problem of illegal dumping on state trust lands.
The illegal dumping was reported on Sunday by residents near the 91,000-acre forest, who spotted a white GMC pickup truck loaded with trash driving into the forest along the C Line road and leaving a short time later with its bed empty.
After the truck’s license tag number was reported to 911, DNR Law Enforcement Service officers began investigating.
“We vigorously pursue all leads,” said Larry Raedel, chief law enforcement officer for DNR. “This incident illustrates a big problem in Washington with illegal dumping on private and public lands.”
If you spot suspicious activities in the woods, call 911.
Hazards and costs of illegal dumping
Raedel says the dumping is more than just unsightly and illegal; it’s also costly to already tight state budgets and can pose hazards to the environment and to people.
To keep clean-up costs down, many illegal dumps on state and other public lands are removed by inmates from correctional camps operated by the Department of Corrections. Between July 2007 and July 2009, crews supervised by DNR cleaned up 685 illegal dump sites. They also removed about 500 tons of litter and other trash, including 2,348 tires from roadsides, forest roads and other areas at a cost of more than $400,000. For the July 2009 to July 2011 Biennium, the Department of Ecology has provided about $415,000 to clean up litter and illegal dump sites on public lands.
Clean-up costs can run $700 to $1,000 per site, assuming there are no hazardous materials in the dumped trash. However, the presence of unknown liquids or other suspicious materials can delay cleanups. If hazardous materials are present in the dumped trash, clean-up costs can escalate dramatically.
Funds from the Department of Ecology also help pay for prevention, including placing hidden cameras at likely dump sites and paying overtime for emphasis patrols.
“We’ve also been asking residents and people who hike, ride, or make other use of state lands to please report suspicious activities in the woods, and our efforts have paid off,” Raedel said.
See the DNR Law Enforcement webpage for more information.
See a photo of the illegal dump site in Capitol State Forest.
DNR-managed state trust lands
DNR manages more than 5 million acres of state-owned forest, aquatic, agricultural, and conservation lands. Most recreation on these lands takes place in the 2.2 million acres of forests that DNR manages as state trust lands. State trust lands are managed to produce income for schools, universities, prisons, state mental hospitals, community colleges, local services in many counties, and the state’s general fund. State trust lands are also managed to provide fish and wildlife habitat, and educational and recreational opportunities.
Media Contact: Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1149; firstname.lastname@example.org
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