Pima County's trash problem only getting worse

Pima County's trash problem only getting worse
So far in 2016, there have been 52 complaints about illegal dumping. (Source: Tucson News Now)
So far in 2016, there have been 52 complaints about illegal dumping. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Illegal dumping is a huge problem in Pima County. So big that over the past three years, county leaders have spent more than $730,000 cleaning up the mess.

In 2014, there were 394 complaints made about illegal dumping on public property. Last year, roughly 297 complaints. So far this year, 52 complaints in just three months.

Pima County's Environmental Enforcement Officer, Lucas McCain investigates your complains about furniture, tires and waste left on the side of the road.

McCain said he gets several calls a day.

He goes to every one of the calls and looks for one thing in particular - identifying documents.

"Typically, I'll go out to a dump site and I will look for bags that contain documents or something like that," he said. "Then I will start searching through them and if I find a particular address or name several times then I will start searching for just that name."

All he needs is three pieces of evidence linking a name to the trash.

Then a violation notice is sent out. If it isn't cleaned it up … a big bill could be on the way.

"Every day the dump site remains it can incur fines of up to $500," McCain said.

And if a person still refuses to clean up the mess, they could end up behind bars.

McCain believes the problem is getting worse every year.

"If I find your trash in the middle of the desert whether you've dumped it there or if someone else did, if your name is on it you are going to be held responsible. And telling me that you paid someone else to take it is not going to help it," McCain warned.

Last year, McCain was responsible for removing 60 tons of waste from public property.

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