by Stuart Burson
Chances are pretty good that at one time or another you've seen somebody's garbage on the side of a road. But there's another form of illegal dumping that many of us may not know about.
Sergeant Al Blangger has been busy, reminding people about illegal dumping laws. It's not what you might think. The kind of illegal dumping that many people are doing in East Texas happens on their very own property.
"Most of them told me they didn't know you couldn't do that. You couldn't dump stuff on your own land. But the law says you can't do it." says Sergeant Blangger.
The law says the only things you can legally dump on your property are items like sand, rock, gravel and concrete. That's pretty much it. Anything else is illegal.
"A lot of items have oil and tar in them like shingles and tar paper, metal, the different acids in these stuff and different things will eventually get into the water system. And that's the main thing the water system." Blangger says.
But once people find out they're breaking the law, they're usually quick to fix the problem.
"We need to educate. But for so long, people have just done it. Grandpa's and their sons and sons and sons... and it's just something they do. But it's really not right when you sit down and think about it." says Chris Fitzpatrick, manager of the Angelina County landfill.
Illegal dumping is not a huge problem around the area right now. But if you are doing it, there's a good chance you'll eventually get caught.
"A lot of this trash stuff is being dumped in dirt pits and such as that. So I'm watching these dirt pits real close. In fact I follow these dump trucks everytime I get a chance I follow them to see where they're going." says Sergeant Blangger.
Later this fall, Angelina County plans on holding a workshop with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The goal is to educate everyone about dumping laws, and the effects dumping can have on the environment.
The fine for illegal dumping can cost you as much as ten thousand dollars or two years in jail.