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Supervisors launch bid to combat proliferation of illegal dumping
An example of trash illegally dumped on farmland. - photo by Photo Contributed

Chuck Winn was fed up with people trashing San Joaquin Council with illegal dumping.

That is why Winn, a Ripon resident who serves on the county Board of Supervisors, helped come  up with the concept of Clean San Joaquin.

Clean San Joaquin is a partnership led by the county that aims to partner with cities, businesses, and residents not only to report issues but also to enlist volunteers to help with clean-up.

Illegal dumping has become a routine issue for farmers who often find bagged garbage, tires, appliances, and even boat hulls dumped on their land and/or adjoining right-of-way. Rivers in the county — the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Mokelumne — along with the Delta also have an endless list of items dumped illegally in  waterways. That is in addition to people just tossing garbage on roadsides and homeless living remnants of encampments when they move on. 

“Communication and coordination (is) key to ensuring Clean San Joaquin gets off to a good start and all voices are heard to assist residents who have issues to report or wish to volunteer or donate to the program to aid in its success,” Winn said. “With that, we developed brochures, an educational video and a user-friendly website that will enable any organization or individual who wishes to volunteer, offer donations or report issues of concern regarding illegal dumping or other safety issues. The program cannot be a success without the active engagement and input of residents who truly care about making San Joaquin County a safe and happy place to live.” 

The Clean San Joaquin website launched Wednesday ( allows residents to report issues such as illegal dumping, graffiti, and abandoned vehicles via the San Joaquin County government outreach system. It also lists planned clean up events as well as allows you to sign up for email update when  local clean up endeavors occur that you might wish to join. You can also donate to help the cause. There is also a short video on the site explaining the problem along with footage of illegal dump sites. 

The intent is beautifying neighborhoods and roads, increasing property values, improving business, reducing crime and showing civic pride.  Its goals are to:

uReduce littering, graffiti, illegal dumping and other wasteful acts

uInform residents about community clean-up programs and services

uPromote civic responsibility, community pride, and environmental care

uBuild a network of volunteers to assist in community beautification

uSave taxpayer dollars

Combating illegal dumping is not a cheap proposition for the county

In the fiscal year ending June 30, San Joaquin County paid $1.2 million to clean illegal dumping from county roadways and levees. That is in addition to $100,000 to remove abandoned watercraft and other large items from county waterways.

The sheriff’s department has taken an aggressive stance toward illegal dumping. Deputies when they come across it will photograph and search for information — or witnesses — that can tie a person to the illegal dump. They have been successful at times in being able to cite those responsible.

In past years in remote rural locations that are repeatedly slammed with illegal dumping, the county has deployed surveillance that caught culprits in the act.

“We have every reason to believe Clean San Joaquin will be embraced by people of all backgrounds given the recent record set for trash collection by the more than 800 volunteers who engaged in the 2019 Coastal Clean-Up Day last month,” Winn said. “ In just three short hours, they picked up 76,677 pounds of trash along the banks of the Delta, rivers, streams and homeless encampments. That was more than three times the amount collected in 2018. It’s a true testament to the tremendous pride the people of this great County have for the place they call home. This is just the beginning of a Countywide coordinated effort to take pride in our communities.”

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email