Many places have laws in place which prohibit illegal dumping of trash or waste. These laws are intended to make sure waste gets where it belongs — like a landfill — and doesn’t end up scattered. Regulations protecting certain places, such as marshes or waterways, are usually specifically designed to protect delicate ecosystems, or the local water supply.
California has some of the strictest environmental protections in the nation, and many of the penalties for dumping are quite severe. The laws surrounding illegal dumping vary from place to place, and environmentally-conscious cities and counties may have laws that go beyond the state- and federal-level laws. Laws may also change quickly, as new ones are passed and old ones are modified or repealed. You should always check with the most recent state statutes and federal regulations if you have any questions.
Defining Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping typically takes place in large quantities. If you throw a can out of your car’s window, that’s not dumping — it’s littering, and typically comes with a ticket or other mild consequence.
But if you’re dumping large amounts of material in a place that isn’t specifically designated for it, or if you’re irresponsibly disposing of something dangerous (such as even a small quantity of hazardous waste), that’s almost certainly going to be treated as illegal dumping. Because dumping has serious environmental consequences and majorly damages an area’s natural beauty, it’s treated far more seriously than littering.
California state law says you can be fined up to $10,000 for illegal dumping, and you may receive up to six months of jail time. The exact penalties are typically determined with an eye toward the amount of material being dumped, the location, any dangers the dumped material poses to the environment and the public, and if you’re a repeat offender.
Both individuals and companies can be prosecuted for illegal dumping in California. If a company is held liable, its managers and executives may be penalized if they knew (or should have reasonably known) about the illegal dumping.
Avoiding Dumping Penalties
The best way to avoid penalties for illegal dumping is to not dump your waste in the first place! It can be tempting to just dispose of big items by the side of the road, but that just makes it someone else’s problem. Instead, you should steer clear of legal penalties and keep your conscience clean by hiring a professional junk hauler.
Junk haulers know the best practices for disposing of even unusual items. Most junk-hauling companies (including ours) will handle even large or bulky items, and given enough notice many will even handle items that are hazardous or dangerous. Calling a junk hauler may seem expensive and time-consuming compared to dumping, but the expense is actually negligible compared to dumping fines. Contact us to schedule a pickup today.