By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: March 12, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – After seeing an uptick in the number of reports of littering and illegal dumping throughout Dinwiddie County, Sheriff D.T. Adams said he and his deputies will be actively enforcing laws and encouraged residents to report violations to authorities.
Over the last few months, reports of trash being dumped along the sides of the roads in the county, particularly in Dinwiddie’s more rural areas have been on the rise, ranging from debris and refuse, to entire trash bags of garbage that seems to have been discarded purposely, something Adams said is very troubling both as a member of the law enforcement community and as a lifelong resident of the county.
“I don’t like seeing this because Dinwiddie County is a beautiful county and I hate to see these roads covered in litter like they are,” he said. “I have inmates out, weather permitting, two to three days a week cleaning up the roads in the county but, Dinwiddie County being over 500 square miles, that is a lot of roads to cover in Dinwiddie County and it is hard for me to keep up with it.”
He praised the county’s move to manned sites for waste disposal in the county, which has helped in some regards but also presented its own challenges as unsecured trash can still sometimes find its way to the sides of roads leading to the facilities.
“Going to these manned sites was a blessing,” he said, “People used to dump in the woods and everywhere else, but I do think it has created another problem because people don’t secure their loads and the roads going to the site catch a lot of litter coming out of the trucks and I would encourage people to remember that you’re supposed to have your loads secure.”
According to the sheriff, the county uses the state’s laws on littering and illegal dumping of trash, which deems it unlawful “for any person to dump or otherwise dispose of trash, garbage, refuse, litter … for the purpose of disposal, or other unsightly matter on public property, including a public highway, right-of-way, or property adjacent to such highway or right-of-way, or on private property without the written consent of the owner or his agent.”
That law adds if a person has been observed to be illegally dumping and that trash has either been ejected or removed from the vehicle, “the owner or operator of the motor vehicle shall be presumed to be the person ejecting or disposing” of the refuse unless that can be rebutted by competent evidence.
The penalty for violating this law would be a misdemeanor punishable up to one year in jail and a fine as low as $250 or as high as $2,500, either or both. The court, instead of a jail sentence, can require those convicted of violating this law to “perform a mandatory minimum of 10 hours of community service in litter abatement activities.”
Adams said that the law will be enforced throughout the county.
“I came down a country road last week and I saw someone had thrown six or eight bags of trash out on the side of the road on the edge of the woods,” he said. “I sent a deputy down there to go through that trash to see if we could find a name and make the people clean it up.”
He continued, “People need to realize, if we find a bag of trash and their name is in it, they can be charged.”
In addition, he said they have seen an increase in the number of illegal tire dumping occurring in Dinwiddie County, as recently as late last month along Frontage Road, and asked residents to keep a vigilant eye out for truck hauling discarded tires traveling through the county.
“If they see a truckload of tires driving on the roads of Dinwiddie County, get their license plate number, especially if it is at night,” Adams said. “That is what they doing, they load the trucks up at night and they drive out to a back road and throw them on the side of the road. These are people we want to catch.”
He explained, “The cases I have prosecuted out the years have typically involved a tire business that paid someone to haul the tires off to the landfill, they would take them and, as you have to pay to dispose of them at the landfill, they would dump them on someone else’s property.”
“These tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a hazard that isn’t just going to go away, they will be there until someone removes them,” Adams said.
The sheriff said tips from the community is how they learn about many of the dumping and litter issues and encourages residents to continue their efforts to keep them abreast of what they are seeing around the county.
“They can contact us via Facebook, call the Sheriff’s Office at 804-469-4550, or, if they see a deputy, stop and tell them,” Adams remarked, closing, “If we catch you, we will give you a ticket so think twice before you throw trash out because Dinwiddie is a beautiful county and we want to keep it that way.”