Local News

Oct 23, 2013 5:04 PM by Sara Donchey

6 Investigates: Illegal Dumping Too Common In Nueces County

NUECES COUNTY - J. E. Brown Septic may not be the only company using a stretch of the Nueces River as a garbage dump. County officials say it's a common tale.

Glen Sullivan, who heads Nueces County Public Works, says "Illegal dumping in the rural areas, in our estimation, is quite a problem," Sullivan said.

Part of what complicates the matter is that the area along the County Road 73, right along the river, is secluded and offenders are less likely to be seen.

Additionally, public works has only two code enforcement officers for the entire county. Sullivan estimates that they each handle 100 cases at any given time, several of which pertain to illegal waste dumping.

But according to County Commissioner Mike Pusley those officers could be getting some extra help.

"We've asked the sheriff's department and our constables to get involved and they've been very cooperative in doing that; they've increased their patrols," Pusley said. "But the other thing that we have done that has been even more successful, is we've asked the people who live there to get involved."

Pusley said the county has asked residents to be vigilant of illegal dumping operations in their neighborhoods. He added that information like photographs, drivers license numbers help the county ensure they can catch the offenders.

Illegal dumping can have some serious criminal consequences if a person or company is found guilty in court.

Penalties can range from misdemeanors to felonies, which can mean up to two years in a state jail facility and up to a $10 thousand dollar fine.

If someone offers up land to dump on as a bribe, they could be in trouble too, particularly if the land they're offering doesn't belong to them.

"You cannot give permission for somebody to do something to somebody else's land," said District Attorney Mark Skurka. "That's just wrong. That's almost a criminal trespass in itself. Or if it harms the land, it could be some other type of crime for that."

Nueces County Public Works and TCEQ say they're still investigating the incident.

J. E. Brown Septic company declined to make an official comment on the allegations.

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