Contra Costa County looking at new plan to curb illegal trash dumping

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) -- A task force of law enforcement, public works, and health officials have come up with a new plan for reducing illegal trash dumping alongside roads and in creeks in Contra Costa County. It's a problem that eats up a lot of money and time and has defied previous solutions.

County residents are required to have garbage pick-up, but that can cost more than $50 per month. Getting rid of a load of junk at the landfill can cost another $50 to $75. So some people illegally make use of some of Contra Costa County's backroads.

Tim Wescott of Pittsburg sees the problem when he drives Bailey Road between Bay Point and Concord.

"It's an eyesore," he says.

It's that and a lot more, according to Joe Yee-- the county's deputy public works director.

"It starts with household trash, but you could literally furnish a whole house with the stuff that we find," he says.

Tim Wescott agrees, "You see mattresses, refrigerators, and washer and driers. Its just disgusting how people can dump trash and think they can get away it."

Yee says, "It's a problem with all 660 miles of road we have in the county."

Yee also says his crews pick up trash at all the trouble spots at least once a month, but they can't keep up. So a task force of law enforcement, public works and health officials spent months putting together a report on illegal dumping.

It shows the county spent $1.2 million picking up illegally dumped trash last year. Still, dumping spots rose by 14-percent from 2016 to 2017 and are projected to rise another five-percent this year.

The report recommends educating people about things like yearly bulk waste pick-up-- a service your garbage hauler provides without charge once or twice a year-- and dropping the legal hammer on illegal dumpers.

"As part of this task force, we're looking at things like increasing the ($1000 dumping) penalty, things like seizing the car of someone caught dumping illegally," says Yee.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.