Watseka, IL -Section 21 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (“Act”) prohibits the open dumping of waste and that, according to Terry Eimen, Director of Environmental Health for the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department, is why a concerted effort amongst numerous agencies has emerged to enforce this Act. Eimen said that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), the Office of the Illinois Attorney General (OIAG), the Illinois Departments of Public Health (IDPH), Natural Resources (IDNR) and Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), as well as county, township and municipal enforcement authorities are linking together to fight illegal dumping. “These unsightly dumping grounds in our communities may present threats to the public health and the environment not to mention the negative impact they can have on neighboring property values,” said Eimen.
Section 44 of the Act classifies illegal dumping as either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony. In addition, the Illinois Criminal code states that dumping garbage, rubbish, refuse or trash on someone else’s property without their consent is a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense, a Class A misdemeanor for the second offense and a Class 4 felony for the third or subsequent offense.
Mr. Eimen identified numerous potential health issues related to illegal dumping saying most illegal dumping occurs because individuals do not know how to legally get rid of products or do not want to pay extra to have items discarded properly. “Therefore, you have discarded items such as appliances which provide a good environment for children to be trapped; you have chemicals that may be toxic; you may have biological hazards such as syringes or other discarded medical use items all which provide potential health threats.” Additionally, he said, chemicals dumped on the ground or spilled from containers can contaminate waterways or shallow groundwater resulting in potential impacts to water sources for fish, wildlife, livestock and people.
What should you do if you witness illegal dumping? Take action. Call your local law enforcement agency as soon as you observe the act. Taking quick action may help stop a small problem from becoming a large, costly and sometimes hazardous problem. For more information regarding illegal dumping and how to address it, contact the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department.
Picture: Illegal Dumping found in the Ford-Iroquois jurisdiction.