Abandoned piles of household garbage, bags of yard waste, appliances, old barrels, used tires, and demolition debris such as lumber, shingles, pipes and asbestos can threaten the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment. Known as open dumps, these sites can be found throughout Illinois -- heaped at the bottom of ravines, in empty lots and pastures, and along roadsides. An open dump is an illegal waste disposal site and should not be confused with a permitted municipal solid waste landfill or a recycling facility. If allowed to remain, open dumps often grow larger, and may attract dumping of both solid and hazardous wastes.
Open dumps pose the following health, safety, and environmental threats:
Open dumps create a public nuisance, divert land from more productive uses, and depress the value of surrounding land.
Causing or allowing open dumping is illegal, and may result in substantial penalties. Any of the following seven conditions at a dump site can result in the issuance of an Administrative Citation:
An Administrative Citation carries a $1,500 penalty for a first offense and a $3,000 penalty for a second or subsequent offense. A citation can be issued for any condition observed during every Illinois EPA inspection until the violation is resolved. In addition to an Administrative Citation, the state can pursue criminal charges and confiscate profits and vehicles that result from, or are used to carry out, open dumping.
Local law enforcement and public health officials have a duty to enforce open dumping laws, including provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. Counties and municipalities may impose additional penalties for open dumping.
Local authorities have the advantage of being close to the crime scene and can:
Report open dumping to local law enforcement authorities or the local health department immediately.
Protect yourself against future open dumping:
The dumpers and generators of the waste are liable and subject to enforcement action. Further, the landowner has a duty to prevent open dumping and to clean up any pollution on their property.