LAWRENCE COUNTY, Oh. (WSAZ)— Illegal dumping around Lawrence and Scioto counties has been a problem for years, and solid waste officials are turning up the heat on offenders with strict penalties.
Officials with the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste Management District say since January they have prosecuted 74 people for illegal dumping in the counties – many cases with arrest warrants attached.
Our cameras and journalists have joined the district on cleanups, including one where the Environmental Protection Agency removed more than 7,000 tires from rural Lawrence County and another spot with more than 1,400 needles among a landfill of trash on a hillside.
Steven Hileman, a solid waste officer, says that an up to $10,000 fine may seem harsh but it’s the cost of polluting the area.
“I can see a lot of disgust on someone’s face when I cite them, but in the back of my mind I know this shouldn’t be allowed, and I feel like we are making a lot of headway,” Hileman told WSAZ.
In 2018, the district totaled 177 prosecutions. With numbers in for the first four months of the 2019, they are now on track to more than double their work.
Hileman says tires are mainly their problem -- usually abandoned in rural areas and can create breathing hazards if caught on fire and perfect conditions for mosquitoes live and breed.
Anyone dealing with illegal dumping or sees anyone illegally dumping is encouraged to call investigators at the district at (740) 532-1231.