Illegal dumping cost Iowa local governments three-million dollars last year. Mel Pins of the Department of Natural Resources says too many people still toss their trash, old appliances or drug paraphernalia in the ditch. He says it’s a growing problem, especially for local governments who find their costs increasing, and he says it’s also a risk to the environment and public safety. Hazardous chemicals, oils and solvents hurt the environemtna dn people, and he adds many counties are finding abandoned meth labs thrown away which could hurt someone who picks up the materials. There are penalties in state law for disposing of solid waste improperly, but many communities also have their own local ordinances and Pins says that’s a good idea. Pins says local ordinances result in “quick turnaround” with a fine issued quickly for offenders found guilty, and he says cities and counties with the best success fighting dumping have effective local programs for action. In Marion County, the sheriff’s office works with the county attorney to investigate and prosecute illegal dumping cases, and a four-county coalition in southern Iowa — Appanoose, Davis, Lucas and Monroe counties aggressively prosecute dumpers and have seen a big decline in problems in roadside ditches. The DNR will hold spring training sessions in half-a-dozen communities to teach people how to mouint effective local campaigns against illegal dumping.
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