Skip to main content

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping affects all Illinois citizens’ quality of life. Abandoned furniture, appliances and garbage can be an eyesore and pose a potentially negative impact to property values. Illegally disposed chemicals, tires and construction debris can pose a health and safety risk to nearby citizens, especially children who may play on the disposal site.

The cost of preventing illegal dumping can amount to the cost of placement of video cameras in common disposal areas; providing outreach information on a city or school website; making brochures available through the city, chamber of commerce or health department.

Providing public service announcements about reporting illegal dumping and broadcasting successful arrests and prosecutions can go a long way to deter illegal dumping. Illinois EPA can offer legal and technical assistance to local law enforcement in prosecuting these illegal acts at the local level before they become a bigger problem.

Prevention of Illegal Dumps

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is partnering with the Illinois Departments of Public Health and Natural Resources 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. For this effort to be effective, we need cooperation and commitment from local government, enforcement agencies and other organizations and associations to provide educational information to citizens in your area.

Open Dumps

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.

Proper Disposal Methods

Individuals sometimes dump garbage from their own households or businesses. This practice carries both environmental and legal risks. The responsible alternative is to hire a company to haul away the garbage and dispose of it legally. Household garbage is often found in open dumps. Disreputable haulers find that they can make a bigger profit by illegally dumping the garbage rather than paying the disposal fees to the landfills. Regardless of whether the generator of the garbage has contracted with the hauler, the generator can be held responsible for the garbage if it is illegally disposed.

Used Tires

The mission of the Illinois EPA’s Used Tire Program is to ensure the proper management of used tires in Illinois to protect human health and the environment and to promote legitimate markets for used tires. Those markets include: 1) tire-derived fuel; 2) civil engineering applications using tire-derived aggregate; and 3) ground (“crumb”) rubber for use in molded rubber products, recreational applications, and rubber-modified asphalt. If managed improperly, used tires pose a threat to human health and the environment by 1) providing a breeding habitat for disease-carrying mosquitoes and 2) presenting a fire threat that can contaminate air, land and water and adversely affect human health through various means of exposure to the contaminants resulting from a fire. To this end, the Illinois EPA regulates the used tire industry and conducts or forces used and waste tire removal actions at sites that are determined to pose a threat to human health and the environment.