Annika Knöppel was making her daily morning commute from her home near Reed Valley to downtown Anza Thursday, March 9, when she spied a pile of trash on the side of the road near the intersection of Reed Valley Road and Wilson Valley Road. She stopped to take a quick photo, meaning to post to social media in an attempt to shame the perpetrators into coming back and collecting their mess.
When she reached the intersection of Wilson Valley Road and State Hwy. 371, she could not believe her eyes. There, propped up against a bright yellow “No Dumping” sign, was a mattress with a message. “Adopt a bedbug, take me home,” was spray painted in neat print on the mattress.
“Can you believe the irony in that they would lean that mattress up against a ‘No Dumping’ sign,” she said. “They have quite a sense of humor.”
Illegal dumping is and has been an issue, especially in the unincorporated areas within Riverside County. Illegal dumping is the dumping of any waste such as oil, furniture, appliances, trash, litter, construction materials or landscaping cuttings upon any public right-of-way, county or private property, without consent of the owner.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors defines illegal dumping as the willful or intentional depositing, dropping, dumping, placing or throwing of any waste matter onto that portion of public or private property located within the unincorporated area of the County and which is not expressly designated by the County for the purpose of disposal of waste matter.
There have even been reports for years of disreputable junk haulers receiving payment from clients to load, remove and legally dump trash in the landfill or at a county-approved transfer station, but instead drop the garbage on roadsides, truck trails and vacant lots. If caught, these people can be arrested and charged and their vehicle seized and impounded for 30 days.
Riverside County Ordinance 840 states that any vehicle used to illegally dump waste matter in violation of the Code or other applicable state law is declared a nuisance. As a result, all such nuisance vehicles would be abated through seizure and impoundment procedures as provided by law.
Additionally, any person who owns, leases, borrows, possesses, maintains or uses any vehicle for any of the purposes or acts set forth in Ord. 840 is responsible for creating a nuisance.
Illegal dumping is a problem throughout Riverside County and both the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources and the Riverside County Code Enforcement teams are committed to protecting residents’ health and safety.
According to the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources, they address illegal dumping cleanup with the Illegal dumping Mop uP And Cleanup Team.
The Department explains that the IMPACT program was developed in 2002 to address illegal dumping on non-maintained roads in Riverside County. In 2010, the Department of Waste Resources expanded its illegal dumping cleanup efforts to include all county roads. The IMPACT program is very successful and at the end of 2013 crews have removed over 16,500 tons of trash and 22,500 waste tires. The tonnage and tires have come from large dump sites throughout the county and disposing of the waste properly has been the main goal. The program has been very cost effective, as millions of dollars are saved each year by utilizing prison labor, keeping the Department cost at only $560,000 annually.
Illegal dump sites negatively affect the environment, property values and public safety. If you suspect illegal dumping in Riverside County unincorporated areas, please contact Riverside County Code Enforcement at 951-955-2004 or 760-393-3344 or report to the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources at 800-870-6600 or use the RivCoMobile App.
To read Riverside County Ordinance 840 in its entirety, visit www.rivcocob.org/ords/800/840.htm.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.