Supervisors Agree to Move Forward on Illegal Dumping Strategies

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Illegal dumping on private property along Kirker Pass. Photo provided by Stacey Frost

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors agreed to move forward on a comprehensive plan aimed at tackling illegal dumping in the county.

Prior to implanting the strategy, the Board of Supervisors agree to create an ad-hoc committee to monitor progress and push county staff forward on the plan.

On Tuesday, Staff presented a summary with 56 possible strategies to combat illegal dumping in which 10-provide a price tag of an estimated $378,000.

Some of the strategies include:

  • Education Campaign
  • Proactive System vs. being complaint driven
  • Street signs
  • Capital Improvement – Target Bay Point with street lights & barricades.
  • Public Works Right of Way Cleanup – work with haulers.
  • Dedicate four per-diem deputies
  • Surveillance cameras (license plate & face recognition – to help build a case)

These recommendations and background materials pertaining to illegal dumping in Contra Costa County were prepared by a team from five different County departments which included:

  • Sheriff’s Office
  • District Attorney’s Office
  • Department of Public Works
  • Environmental Health Division of the Health Services Department
  • Department of Conservation of Development (DCD)

On February 25, 2019, the interdepartmental team hosted a countywide meeting about “Collaborative Strategies for Reducing Illegal Dumping in Contra Costa County” to share information and facilitate coordination among local jurisdictions in the County.

Representatives from a range of different Departments in all nineteen cities were invited and encouraged to attend. Approximately 35 people attended, including representatives from the following ten cities: Antioch, Clayton, Concord, El Cerrito, Hercules, Oakley, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Pablo, and Walnut Creek–document showing how each city deals with illegal dumping.

During the presentation, Supervisor John Gioia brought up the idea of Liens be placed on illegal dumping penalties stating Richmond has the ability to place tax liens.

“We talked about this 10-years ago, I thought we were going to do this 10-years ago because I remember we talked about the same issue,” stated Gioia. “So we are going to move forward, county council is going to have an ordinance for us, it is going to allow this, when is the timing of that.”

It was stated during the presentation that at this time, they were only exploring the idea of tax liens.

“Why can’t we just direct it as part of this,” replied Gioia. “I worry we explore, explore. We get a report. It’s a year… this has gone on for a long time.”

Supervisor Diane Burgis stated she would like to create an Ad-Hoc Committee to keep this going to prevent this from coming back in another 10-years.

Gioia again asked why they couldn’t direct vs. explore and it was stated because they haven’t validated the legal authority to place tax liens.

Gioia liked the idea of creating an ad-hoc committee or some form of a committee to meet regularly on this.

Burgis requested to be placed on the ad-hoc committee.

“This was something that was very important to my community and that is why we got things cooking a little bit more and just want to compliment the staff, there has been a lot of really good communication and thoughtful strategizing on how to do this and I’d love to be involved with that ad-hoc committee,” stated Burgis.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff suggested they form the ad-hoc committee and they report back within 90-days so the strategies outlined can be discussed and provided with updates from legal counsel of what they can or cannot do with changing ordinances and concepts of where the new money his going to come from.

Mitchoff requested they come back by Sept. 30 with a report on all these strategies and with the funding identified with the concept the ad-hoc committee monitor progress.

Supervisor Candace Andersen highlighted this is a problem in the entire county and they have tended to piecemeal this topic but each of their districts have had to address illegal dumping.

“It’s those hotspots those identified areas and I like the fact you have lots of different strategies to approach it because there isn’t going to be just one that fits every situation” said Andersen.

The committee will consist of Burgis and Glover.

Legislative Efforts Per Staff Report

COLLABORATIVE LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS: Representatives from Alameda and Contra Costa counties are working together to pursue legislation to address shared needs to more effectively address illegal dumping in our respective jurisdictions. The County’s adopted 2019 State Platform includes the following sponsored-legislation proposal related to illegal dumping, which resulted in AB 1216 specific to our two counties:

Seek legislation, in conjunction with Alameda County and other partners, and support legislation that specifically establishes statewide hauler permitting requirements and associated penalties as well as increases penalties allowed by State law for illegal dumping.

The 2019 State Platform also includes the following related policy which pertain to AB 215 and SB 409:

SUPPORT efforts that will help counties more effectively combat illegal dumping, including but not limited to establishing a more reasonable burden of proof standard, changing any remaining infractions to misdemeanors and increasing penalty amounts or options (e.g. vehicle seizure).

At the County’s Legislation Committee meeting on May 15, 2019, the Committee members approved the recommendation by the interdepartmental Illegal Dumping Think Tank team that they consider recommending to the Board of Supervisors a position of “Support” on three bills related to illegal dumping: AB 215 (Mathis), SB 409 (Wilk), and AB 1216 (Bauer-Kahan). Two of these bills are no longer moving forward (AB 215 and AB 1216). The Board will consider the Legislation Committee’s recommendation related to the third illegal dumping bill, SB 409, at the meeting on June 11, 2019. All three bills are summarized below.

AB 1216 Summary: (this bill is no longer moving forward) Would have authorized the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa to establish a pilot program to employ 2 law enforcement officers, one from each county, solely for the purpose of enforcing dumping laws in those counties. Potential state general fund revenue to support AB 1216, pending Legislative action on the State Budget.

SB 409 Summary: Increases the allowable fines for illegal dumping, expand the crime of illegal dumping to include the transporting of waste matter, rocks, concrete, asphalt or dirt for the purpose of dumping, makes it illegal to transport commercial quantities to dump in specified locations, and makes it a crime to dump, deposit or receive waste matter on private property with owner consent without any required permit/license.

AB 215 Summary: (this bill is no longer moving forward) Would have made dumping waste matter on private property, including on any private road or highway, without consent of the owner, punishable with specified fines. Requires the fine to be doubled for a fourth or subsequent violation if the prosecuting attorney pleads and proves, or, in an infraction case, if the court finds, that the waste placed, deposited, or dumped includes used tires.

County staff will continue to work through our state legislative advocate to pursue new legislation to implement the Board’s adopted legislative goals related to illegal dumping. In addition, staff is evaluating options for increasing the severity of consequences for violations of the Hauler Ordinance.


12 COMMENTS

  1. The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors needs to study the system used by different municipalities in Washington state on how they handle this problem. Because of the way it’s set up, that state nor their counties nor cities ever had a dumping problem. Each municipality has it’s own area where people drop off discarded furniture, etc. and show that they pay for their utilities and are eligible for free disposal. It works like a charm.

    • Yeah, in CA they just want you to pay more, more, more for your garbage whereas in other states you can just show up and dump your junk as long as you are a resident. For anything extra here they want more of your money…

  2. If Antioch were represented on the map it would be RED! Wilbur is a mess, and so is Pitt/ Ant. Highway. Too bad folks won’t pay the 37 bucks at the dump…

    • What you mention is the minimum fee, all one has to do is look at the complete fee listing for the Loveridge Transfer station (https://mdrr.com/rcts-price-list/) to see why people are illegally dumping appliances, mattresses, TV’s and other items that are costly to take to transfer station. A washer is $55.25, Queen size mattress is $35.25, TV $40.75, Microwave $23.75. Plus, if all someone has is an old carpet or something simple to dispose of, the minimum fee becomes pretty pricey.

      The article mentions $378,000 as a possible prevention cost… take a fraction of that amount and devote it towards providing a regularly scheduled “clean up day” every month, where people can dispose of their junk at a reasonable cost, and I bet that would put more of a dent in illegal dumping than creating a new committee, putting up new signs or waging an educational campaign that will be largely ignored.

      A boat dumped on Wilbur is mentioned… that’s regular occurrence on or near Bethel Island. If someone has an old boat to dispose of, there is no one that takes them. Old cars can be hauled off, often and no cost, by a auto dismantler, no such avenue is available for an old boat… so people illegally dump them, the County that is the doorway to the Delta needs to look at what can be done to help people with disposing of unwanted boats.

  3. The supervisors need to address the excessive fees at the dumps. What a ridiculous rip off!!

    • Well, 1 cubic yard is $37….

      You’re right, it could be higher the more junk you have. I wonder what the dump would want for the old busted up boat that’s full of garbage out on Wilbur that I saw on Monday!?

  4. ANOTHER BUREAUCRACY????
    Why create something new? Why reinvent the wheel? What’s the fine now,1000$? The only good idea is placing cameras and vehicle seizure,but you know what will happen……someone or everyone that gets caught won’t be able to afford the fine or it will be like the fare evaders on BART where a fraction will pay the fines….then what? They won’t throw them in jail, the D.A won’t prosecute. Please save the money and hire more employees to pick up the blight… then you can pat yourselves on the back for creating jobs..win…win.

  5. We need human poop and needle patrol like San Francisco. They have the funds. We should have the funds too for our trash on public property. It’s not rocket science that needs a full study and fourteen meetings. Each jurisdiction is responsible for itself. Stop talking about it and pick up the trash. Each municipality has a public works. We do not net a special department, just action that’s all. The idea of free resident dump at the landfills is also a great idea. Get er done for crying out loud.

  6. We need human poop and needle patrol like San Francisco. They have the funds. We should have the funds too for our trash on public property. It’s not rocket science that needs a full study and fourteen meetings. Each jurisdiction is responsible for itself. Stop talking about it and pick up the trash. Each municipality has a public works. We do not need a special department, just action that’s all. The idea of free resident dump at the landfills is also a great idea. Get er done for crying out loud.

  7. The dump could be absolutely free and the types of people dumping will continue. Pure lazy uneducated low life’s with no respect for the community. Sad but true!

  8. Shity of Oakley

    Dumping will only get worse now that Oakley trash collection rates are going up, again. Not to mention the lack of annual broken appliance/dump collection that every other city has…

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