ODESSA, Texas (Big 2 / Fox 24) – Illegal dumping is nothing new in Ector County. The Environmental Enforcement is cracking down on those responsible for dumping their trash and they are getting a lot of help from the public.
From car tires, to mattresses, to pieces of furniture, Rickey George, Director of the Ector County Environmental Enforcement, and his team spend most of their days locating and cleaning up fields littered with trash.
“We probably have 2,000 sites like this, ” George said. “That’d be a very close guess.”
The main cause for this problem according to George, is the West Odessa area being unincorporated.
“There is no government trash service out here,” George said. ” So you have a lot of people that choose to illegally dump to avoid paying for trash service.”
While there may be no government trash service in West Odessa, The Environmental Enforcement are finding those who don’t dispose of their trash properly.
“When we capture violators, we make them clean up their mess plus the messes we don’t capture,” George said ” Because it’s tax payers that are having to suffer the burden of illegal dumping, just like tax payers suffer the burden of most crimes.”
The Environmental Enforcement uses several strategies to catch violators such as placing hidden cameras in active dump sites and tracing one’s trash items. But George said his team gets the most help from Ector County residents.
“They’ll take video from their home security cameras, a lot of them are putting game cameras up on their own property to capture these people, and they send us those images,” George said. ” That’s just a prime example of community policing.”
As for residents who live in West Odessa, George is urging them to keep an eye out for illegal dumping on their property.
“It’s illegal for you to allow dumping on your property, even if you don’t know about it,” George said. ” So, people need to take precautionary measures if you own property in this precinct, because ultimately if we don’t capture them they’ll be responsible for cleaning it up.”
But George said he appreciates the public’s help in catching violators, and he hopes they continue.
“I only have two officers working for me and we have a lot of area to cover, ” George said. “So when we get the citizens involved, bad guys don’t stand a chance.”