PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. — Pueblo County health leaders continue waging war against people who choose to illegally dump their garbage.
One year after the creation of the county’s Trash Task Force, people are still being seen, caught, and punished for leaving their trash on backroads and in open fields.
Health leaders say trash dumping is hurtful to the environment, wildlife, people. It’s also just plain gross.
“Wildlife could get into the trash,” Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment Program Manager Chad Wolgram said. “Depending on the items they dump, it could seep into the groundwater.”
The same groundwater you’ll eventually use to brush your teeth, take a shower and drink.
“There’s a whole slew of environmental issues that occur with illegal dumping,” Wolgram explained.
Environmental issues aside, there are some pretty hefty fines that come with illegal dumping. Not to mention the social media side effects that often come along.
“They can be up to $1,000 for the first offense,” Wolgram said. “We’re finding illegal dump sites and collecting any information we can about the people who dump this trash.”
Part of that information collection process includes using cameras to take pictures of criminals’ cars, running their plates, and often taking to social media to raise awareness about how not to dispose of garbage.
“It really harms our image,” Wolgram said.
Although illegal dumping has been a problem for years, increased rates for garbage resources haven’t helped the situation. Hence why the Trash Task Force holds large item drop-off events multiple times throughout the year.
“They will take mattresses, couches,” Wolgram said. “They’ll take tires, and some other large items for a discounted fee.”
Drop-off events are held on Thursday and Friday afternoons from 1-6 and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 in the morning till two at 1595 Stockyard Road.
Wolgram says if you come across someone illegally dumping trash, your next course of action should be to report it. The task force will then find the evidence and attempt to track the culprit(s).
To report illegal dumping, you can call the Illegal Dumping Hotline at (719) 583-4323.