Fort McCoy News November 14, 2014

Illegal dumping subject to penalties

Dumping waste on Fort McCoy is illegal. Installation officials ask people to be vigilant in reporting illegal dumping violations.

What is illegal dumping? Detective Chase Laffea of the Fort McCoy Police Department said it could involve any of the following scenarios:

• Dumping waste on public or private property that is not licensed or permitted to receive waste.

• Dumping waste, without a license or permit, into sewers or waterways.

• Allowing another to dump waste on one's land, without being licensed to receive such waste.

• Dumping waste in down-range areas.

• Dumping garbage and recyclables outside of dumpster receptacles in garrison.

• Dumping inappropriate materials, such as recyclables, hazardous materials and hazardous waste, furniture and other large items, inside a dumpster.

• Dumping waste from the housing area into the unit-area dumpsters.

• Bringing waste from off-post and depositing it in on-post and unit-area dumpsters.

"Whether it's bringing personal garbage to the installation and throwing it in one of those dumpsters, or leaving trash on one of the range areas, illegal dumping creates additional disposal costs for the post and can be hazardous to the environment," said Directorate of Public Works Chief of the Water and Waste Branch Mike Miller.

Improperly disposed of chemical and pharmaceutical waste, for example, has the potential to seep into soil and groundwater as it deteriorates. Environmental effects can create a hazard to crops as well as the people, pets and wildlife who consume them.

Additionally, improperly disposed of solid waste materials made of metal, plastic and rubber contribute to the pollution of land areas, lakes, rivers, oceans and streams.

There's also an economic impact to the Army for illegal dumping. Miller said, the Army spends millions of tax dollars each year to clean up illegal waste disposals and to treat the environmental damages caused by illegal dumping. These are tax dollars that otherwise could be spent to provide other programs and services.

Through observation and investigation, Fort McCoy personnel identify those who illegally use Fort McCoy's dumpsters or leave waste on post areas.

Someone convicted of illegal dumping can be subjected to any or all of the following penalties, Laffea said.

• Fines. Courts impose fines to penalize defendants. These fines vary greatly, depending on the circumstances. Misdemeanor fines may be as little as for a traffic ticket. Felony fines can be thousands of dollars. Some fines can accrue daily until the illegally dumped waste is cleaned up.

• Restitution. Courts often require defendants to pay for any damage they caused to someone's property by their illegal dumping.

• Remediation. Courts may require defendants to clean up and repair property damaged by their illegal dumping.

• Incarceration. Misdemeanor sentences may involve 12 months or less in a county jail or state prison, depending on the state. Felony sentences can be one or more years. A judge may require the entire sentence to be served in jail.

• Probation. A person on probation regularly meets with a probation officer and fulfills other terms and conditions, such as maintaining employment and attending counseling.

• Community service. Courts often include this as a part of probation the requirement the defendant work for a specified number of hours with court-approved organizations, such as charities.

• Uniform Code of Military Justice action for military members.

• Bar letter from the installation commander.

To report illegal dumping on Fort McCoy, call 608-388-2000, option #4. Give the location of the dumping, type of trash and brief description if possible. Callers can remain anonymous, or they can leave a name and phone number.

(Prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office, Directorate of Emergency Services, Directorate of Public Works and the Installation Legal Office.)