By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– One year after the start of an initiative to deploy jail inmates to clean up illegal dump sites, the crews have cleared more than 578 tons of trash and 7,922 tires in the First District, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Robert Lovingood announced.
“This is a great, common-sense program that cleans up our desert and saves taxpayer money by using inmates housed in County jail,” said Lovingood, who launched the initiative in 2015.
Crews cleaned up sites across the Victor Valley and other High Desert communities. Using inmate work crews saved an estimated $112,700.
In addition to the 578 tons of trash, inmate crews also cleared 168 tons of cement and nine boats at an illegal dump site near Interstate 15 and Dale Evans Parkway. The cement was recycled and the tires were used as fuel at local cement plants.
“Illegal dumping contributes to blight and reduces quality of life and property values,” Lovingood said. “We can prevent a lot of this if residents just call their local waste hauler to have large bulky items collected at the curbside — for free.”
Lovingood thanked Code Enforcement Chief Andy Wingert, Code Enforcement Officer III Joana Cavazos, Code Enforcement Officer 2 Tina Doughton and Code Enforcement Supervisor Ignacio Nunez for making the inmate cleanup program a success.
Lovingood encouraged residents to get involved by reporting illegal dumping. For crimes in progress, call your local law enforcement agency. Gather as much information as possible, including photos and video. But use caution if you come into contact with an individual illegally dumping.
In some areas, the County has set up concealed video cameras to catch illegal dumpers.
“Illegal dumping is a crime,” Lovingood said. “There really is no excuse.”
California Penal Code 374.3 makes illegal dumping on public and private property punishable by a fine up to $10,000. Also, pursuant to Section 117555 of the California health and Safety Code, a person who dumps illegally is punishable by up to six months on jail.
In addition to free bulky item pickup by waste haulers, San Bernardino County provides free county dump cards for residents of unincorporated areas. County Code Enforcement has a smart phone app that makes it easy to report illegal dumping and graffiti in unincorporated areas. The app is available for the iPhone and Droid by searching “SB Code.”
For information on disposing of household hazardous waste such as poisons, paints, fertilizers, used motor oil and e-waste, call (800) OILYCAT (645-9228) or click on http://www.sbcfire.org/hazmat/hhw.aspx . Abandoned shopping carts may be reported to the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation at (800) 252-4613 or online at www.cartretrieval.net. iPhone users may download the CartSnap application to report abandoned shopping carts.