Delaware launches crack down on illegal dumping

    Timed to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day, Delaware environmental officials have launched TrashStoppers. It’s a call for Delaware residents to speak up when they see people illegally dumping trash.

    Timed to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day, Delaware environmental officials have launched TrashStoppers.  It’s a call for Delaware residents to speak up when they see people illegally dumping trash.

    The effort is very similar to the state’s CrimeStoppers program, and includes a hotline for residents to call to report dump sites and offer information on who may be doing the dumping.  The Environmental Complaint Hotline is 800-662-8802.  Just like the crime hotline, all information about illegal dumping incidents will be kept confidential, and those providing tips can remain anonymous.

    The tip-line adds to the other weapons the state has to fight illegal dumping.  A number of surveillance cameras have been put into place in New Castle County.  Chief of DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit William “Chip” McDaniel says, “Obviously our officers can’t be everywhere, so we’re calling on citizens for help in identifying trash dumpers the cameras have caught breaking the law.”  Last year, the unit investigated nearly 500 complaints of illegal dumping, which led to 14 arrests and convictions.

    McDaniel says the state will double the number of cameras in place over the next month thanks to a Delaware Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant.  He says, “Not only are we deploying more cameras across the state, but these cameras are very mobile, and can be put up at a site overnight for getting trash dumpers on film.”

    In 2008, the state Department of Justice supported legislation that increases Delaware’s anti-dumping laws and penalties.  Now, owners of vehicles that are involved in dumping can face prosecution.  People convicted of illegal dumping face a minimum fine of $500 plus court costs for the first offense.  On following offenses, the fine increases to $1,500.

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