San Benito County has drastically increased fines in an effort to combat the scourge of illegal dumping on roadsides, public property and other unauthorized locations.
The new fines, which became effective Sept. 21, are $2,500 for the first offense (previously $100), $5,000 for the second offense (previously $200) and $10,000 for the third offense (previously $300), according to county staff.
The board of supervisors adopted the increased fines at the Aug. 22 meeting.
Illegal dumping that occurs throughout the county brings concerns about public health and safety, environmental quality and the well-being of residents and wildlife, county staff said in a press release.
“This is all about preserving the beauty of our county,” Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki said. “The goal is to send a strong message that we are no longer going to put up with illegal dumping. We are a beautiful community, and we need to take pride in that; we cannot allow this to happen anymore. Fine increases are just one step toward solving this problem, and I have confidence our county team will follow through on multiple approaches to reduce these behaviors.”
Additional anti-dumping measures ready to be implemented by the county include signage, cameras, fencing and increased enforcement, as well as educational outreach. The increase in fines, in addition to these measures, aims to act as a deterrent to illegal dumping.
“(Illegal dumping) is a very important mission of this board, and we want to address it as a community and as a team,” Supervisor Angela Curro said.
The county’s Integrated Waste Management staff is working with other county departments and contractors to implement best enforcement practices, improve the county’s response time to illegal dumping incidents and increase education and outreach on free disposal and recycling programs, says the press release.
Another way residents can help reduce or prevent illegal dumping is to take advantage of free recycling programs offered by San Benito County. Residents can recycle their old mattresses and other bulky items at the John Smith Road Landfill.
To learn more about the local free disposal events and services, call IWM at 831.636.4110, or email [email protected].