Prevention of Illegal Dumps

A Message from the Directors of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Public Health and Natural Resources

September 2010

Open DumpThe Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is partnering with the Illinois Departments of Public Health (IDPH) and Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Office of the Attorney General in a state-wide effort to prevent illegal dumping. The idea is to stop each small dumping event from becoming a larger, potential threat to public health and the environment and a costly mess that must be cleaned up with taxpayer’s money. To launch this effort, we need cooperation and commitment from local government, enforcement agencies and other organizations and associations to provide educational information to citizens in your area.

Illegal dump sites often pose physical, chemical and biological hazards. Rainwater collecting in discarded items provides a place for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquito species recently analyzed from the large illegal dump site in Markham were found to be the species that are capable of carrying West Nile Virus and a type of encephalitis.

The attached fact sheet contains questions and answers about illegal dumping that may be helpful to you in reaching out to citizens in your town, township or county. By arming citizens with the proper information about how to report an illegal dumping incident, you may be able to stop a bad practice that ultimately affects all Illinois citizens. Our hope is that local officials will make use of the fact sheet information to place on your website with your logo and with the appropriate local contact for citizens to call about illegal dumping. We are also attaching the three public service announcements that Illinois EPA recorded for your use.

The cost of cleaning up large dump sites can be in the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars. We hope to be able to count on your support in heading off this problem through vigilance and action by citizens and enforcement authorities at the local level. Illinois EPA can offer legal and technical assistance in your investigations and prosecutions. We look forward to working with you to address this serious and growing problem and making Illinois a better and safer place for our citizens!

Additional Information