Thanks to volunteer groups and city and county street department personnel, most of the illegal dumping sites have been cleaned.
But that does not mean local residents can relax or ignore illegal dumping when they see it.
City Code Compliance Official Lanny Holland and his assistant, Ronald “Buddy” Hardy, urge all city and county residents to be vigilant and to report illegal dumping when they witness it.
“Write down a license number,” Holland said. Turn the information over to the Bee County Sheriff’s Office or the Beeville Police Department and they will track down the name and address of the vehicle owner.
“It’s a violation of Texas law,” Holland said. Dumping in a place not officially designated to accept refuse is against Chapter 341 of the Standards of Sanitation and Health Protection Measures.
Those convicted of violating the chapter can be fined $200 for each infraction.
Cases investigated within the city are tried in municipal court.
“It’s a problem,” said Hardy. But after recent cleanup efforts around the county, he said, “I haven’t come across them.”
“We’ve been monitoring them pretty closely,” Holland said of the sites where most illegal dumping has taken place in recent years.
“It’s illegal to use dumpsters and that’s been a problem,” Hardy said. He was referring to people who use dumpsters outside of businesses for discarding their household trash and garbage.
When asked what seems to be the most-often dumped item found where it should not be, Hardy said it is furniture and not old tires.
“I can’t believe how much furniture they dump,” he said.
According to Holland, most of the discarded furniture in the city ends up sitting next to the dumpsters outside apartment complexes.
Apartment residents put the old furniture there when they move or buy new furniture.
But Hardy said the city keeps after apartment managers to make sure they are having the furniture collected by Allied Waste, the company which owns the dumpsters and which collects and discards household trash for the city.
“It’s up to them (apartment managers) to call Allied Waste and have those things picked up,” Hardy said.”
“When building permits are issued, a lot of the process is monitoring what they’re doing,” Holland said. That means the city keeps track of what contractors do with their construction debris.
City and county officials also keep an eye on people who dump composition singles illegally after removing them from a roof.
Like old tires, composition shingles have oil in them and are considered hazardous material because the oil from them can leach into the soil and eventually affect underground aquifers.
“We’re working on an ordinance to try to regulate that so we can monitor where they’re taking these roofing materials,” Holland said.
Hardy said the dumping of roofing shingles is not as serious a problem as it once was.
He said people in the city are reporting illegal dumping when they see it. “We do have people who are watching.”