Antelope Valley residents raised alarms Tuesday about illegal dumping during a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended coming up with a plan to enforce ordinances barring the practice, ranging from incentives to steep penalties.
“Illegal dumping in the Antelope Valley has been a problem for decades and it seems to be getting worse,” Barger said.
The supervisor said she was driving through the valley visiting homeless encampments and was shocked by roads “littered with old furniture, mattresses, household waste, construction debris, hazardous materials and broken electronics.”
Part of the problem, Barger said, is a 2007 county ordinance requiring residences and businesses to pay for trash pickup or file as “self-haulers.” The process of disposing of trash legally is inconvenient and only one self-hauler has filed in the last decade.
Lack of enforcement is another issue, she said.
“The city of Acton has become a dump site,” said Tom Costan, president of the Acton Town Council.
Some of the biggest offenders are construction companies that dump truckloads of dirt on roadsides and private property, with no regard for grading, Costan said, calling it an “ecological disaster in the making … is it toxic content? Where is it coming from? Nobody knows.”
Some are dumping into a stream along Escondido Canyon Road, another resident said.
Brokers have entered the market, advertising for property that can be used for illegal dumping.
Those breaking the law are saving lots of money, one resident said, telling the board that a 10-wheel dump truck can bring in 10 tons of soil that would cost $500 to $700 to dispose of legally.
“There’s a piece of property that was purchased for $129,000 in December,” he explained. “In six months, they saved $70,000 in dump fees. By the end of the year, they will have paid for the property.”
And when the property is piled with dirt and no longer a viable dump site, they’ll walk away and “the county’s going to be stuck holding the bag,” he said.
The board asked for recommendations back in 45 days.
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