By Jim Talbert
The News & Press
Tazewell, Va. – Several months of increased volume at the Tazewell County Landfill and convenience areas prompted the board of supervisors to get tough on illegal dumpers.
After an Aug. 4 public hearing at which no one spoke the supervisors voted to make it a class one misdemeanor for someone outside the county to dump trash in the county landfill or at one of the convenience areas.
A class one misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $2,500 and or a jail sentence up to 12 months. The violation had previously carried a fine of up to $1,000 and the possible jail sentence of up to 12 months.
The board instructed County administrator Eric Young to have signs posted at the landfill and all convenience areas citing the code section and penalty. There will also be signs advising dumpers that cameras are in use.
Young said a lot of the problem comes after hours and at the convenience areas that are unmanned. He said employees do a good job of eyeballing license plates during business hours.
After a second public hearing, the board took no action making the littering penalty a class one misdemeanor. That proposed change was aimed at people who leave their trash outside the gate at the landfill or convenience areas after hours or attempt to throw it over the fence.
Supervisor Mike Hymes said many people were unable to dispose of trash because the sites weren’t open before they had to be at work or when they finished work in the evening. Young said the law of unintended consequences could come into play with someone being cited that didn’t haul their own trash.
Dumping trash outside the gate slows landfill and convenience area operations because employees have to pick up and dispose of the outside trash before starting their job. The board could take action on the littering law at a future meeting.
The change to the dumping law took effect immediately.
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