BEAUFORT CO., S.C. (WTOC) - Fire officials in Beaufort County want residents to think twice before dumping their trash. They say illegal dumping isn’t just bad for the environment, it could also lead to some hefty fines.
Illegal dump sites can grow quickly and get out of hand before you know it. That’s why Beaufort County is working to hold people that use dumpsites accountable.
As soon as they find one, the first step they take is to investigate the pile. They bring in their crew to look through the waste. Then, they try to find out who it belonged to.
Those caught dumping can be punished by state law, which can fine you or even land you in jail.
The Beaufort County team responsible for cleaning up dump sites mostly use small vehicles and hand pickers. But, when a dumpsite has larger items that they can’t move by hand, they have to use specialized equipment, like a piece of machinery they call a tire truck. A tire truck has a large flatbed with a crane attached to the back of it.
The team tells WTOC that dumping has become such an issue, the county is looking into hiring an enforcement officer.
"If you're dumping trash it does get investigated and they will find out where it came from and you'll get investigated and be hit with a fine or worse. We just can’t do that anymore. It’s not a global thing, it’s not a green world thing or environmental thing, it’s just basic health and safety…if you burn trash improperly, you can cause health problems for us," said Captain Dan Byrnes, Burton Fire District.
The team also says part of the issue is people don’t realize it can be a health threat, which is why any hired enforcement officer would not only be the one to lead investigations into illegal dumping, they would also have an education program to inform the community of the health risks.