The signs of illegal dumping are everywhere in rural Manteca and Ripon.
Bags of trash dropped off along rural roads.
Discarded tires and appliances — including the occasional inoperable boat — dropped on the edge of orchards.
Overall, an average of 2,600 tons of trash a year is dumped illegally along rural roads and within county right-of-way.
San Joaquin County — after experiencing a surge in complaints regarding litter, trash, abandoned boats, homeless encampments, and illegal dumping activities — has added more teeth to the effort to combat illegal dumping that costs taxpayers $1.3 million a year to remove.
The county has acquired six cameras that will be moved throughout the county to illegal dumping hot spots.
Those cameras, augmented by the Board of Supervisors adopting an ordinance that requires law enforcement simply to obtain footage of garbage being removed from a vehicle, is expected to make more illegal dumpers pay the price for trashing the countryside.
Before supervisors made language changes to the county’s ordinance, the threshold of proof required to prosecute illegal dumping was high.
Now it is similar to the “host” ordinance that combats illegal fireworks. Such an ordinance makes whoever owns the property where illegal fireworks are launched from responsible for allowing it instead of catching the person igniting the fireworks in the act.
That ordinance has allowed Manteca to go after those firing off illegal fireworks simply using video time-stamped footage costing offenders more than $70,000 collectively during the past five years.
If a person's vehicle or trailer is used for illegal dumping the owner could be cited for a violation even if they are not able to identify the driver.
And it can do by using video footage of vehicles used to illegally dispose of trash.
The new county ordinance that went into effect a week ago carries a $100 fine for the first violation, $200 fine for the second violation, and $500 for the third and subsequent violations.
The ordinance also directs the Illegal Dumping Task Force to implement a “Three E’s” strategy of Education, Eradication, and Enforcement.
“A record-setting amount of garbage and illegal dumping is polluting our region,” said Supervisor Chuck Winn, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and Ripon residents, “Abandoned refrigerators, tires, mattresses, motors and marine vessels are scattered throughout neighborhoods and along highways, and waterways. If not cleaned up, this waste could threaten our health, safety, environment and most important, our citizens for generations to come.”
“Additionally, it affects property values, creates blight and attracts more illegal dumping. This Ordinance is just one of the many actions the County is taking to clean San Joaquin.”
The ordinance piggybacks on the Clean San Joaquin initiative which was spearheaded by Winn and adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2018.
Residents can report illegal dumping via the county’s GoRequest system.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com