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Illegal Dumping

What is Illegal Dumping?
Illegal Dumping is a crime of opportunity. It is the improper disposal of waste at any location other than a permitted landfill or facility. There are over 184 sites in Oklahoma where the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officially permits disposal of solid waste. Disposal of waste anywhere else is against the law. Not only is it against the law, but illegal dumping also poses a threat to human health and the environment.

Also known as open dumping or midnight dumping, illegal dumping usually happens in open areas, detention ponds, in wooded areas and even in state parks, and frequently occurs late at night. Other common locations include abandoned industrial sites, vacant lots on public or private property and little used roadways or alleyways. Areas along rural roads and railways are particularly vulnerable because of the accessibility and poor lighting. The waste is primarily non-hazardous material that is dumped to avoid disposal fees or the time and effort required for proper disposal.

Illegal Dumping is a serious issue
Enforcement of the laws against illegal dumping depends on your location. If you live within Edmond's City Limits, the Code Enforcement Division of Edmond's Community Image Department can be contacted to enforce Edmond's ordinances and Oklahoma's state laws against illegal dumping. Any Code Enforcement Officer who witnesses illegal dumping may issue a ticket to the offender on the spot. The fine for dumping is $249, along with the requirement to clean up the area. In addition, three pieces of evidence with an individual's name and address on them (i.e. an old envelope), collected by Code Enforcement Officers at an illegal dump site, can be used to prosecute violators in municipal court.

What types of materials are found in illegal dump sites?
The materials typically found in illegal dumps include:
  • construction and demolition debris, including drywall, shingles, lumber, bricks, concrete & siding
  • large appliances: refrigerators, freezers, washers & dryers, electronics (see image)
  • abandoned vehicles, parts & tires
  • furniture
  • yard trimmings
  • household garbage

Illegally Dumped Washer

Construction & Demolition (C&D) debris is a particular problem and makes up a large percentage of illegal dumps. Some builders and contractors cut their costs by illegal dumping, thus under-bidding those who legally dispose of their materials at permitted C&D debris landfills.

Who are the violators?
Typical offenders can be:
  • construction, demolition, remodeling, roofing and landscaping contractors
  • automobile repair or tire shop owners/employees
  • general hauling contractors
  • scrap collectors
  • do-it-yourselfers
  • local residents

Several county and local governments across the state of Oklahoma are now installing security cameras at known illegal dump sites, making the task of enforcement much easier on local law enforcement. Offenders beware!

Why is Illegal Dumping a problem?
Illegal Dumping often attracts more illegal dumping, and when visible from roadways, this waste is aesthetically unpleasing. Runoff from these sites may contaminate surface waters used as a drinking water source, such as Arcadia Lake.

The health and safety hazards associated with illegal dumping are not limited to environmental pollution. Illegal dump sites also create physical hazards, particularly for children, who can be exposed to chemicals or hurt themselves on sharp objects while playing in or near the debris. The debris in these sites also has the potential to block drainage ways, making the surrounding area more susceptible to flooding. An additional safety hazard results from dumping occurring in the right-of-way, creating road obstructions that result in hazardous driving conditions.

Illegal Dump sites also attract all kinds of rodents and insects. For example, illegal dumps with waste tires provide a perfect place for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes can multiply 100x faster than normal in the warm, stagnant water that collects in the tires. 

Tire Stockpile, NY [Source - Shumaker Engineering and Land Surveying]

What is the solution?
Solving the problem of illegal dumping requires a partnership between our government, organizations and citizens, all of whom enjoy the benefits of a clean community. It is also important for all of us to be aware and to get involved. Simple actions on your part, such as reporting any illegal dumping, can help keep a small problem from becoming a big problem!

Residents and businesses in the City of Edmond have numerous convenient and reasonably priced, or even free, options for recycling or disposal. In addition to the services provided by the Solid Waste Services Division of Edmond's Public Works, there are numerous thrift and secondhand stores that accept gently used goods and furniture. 

                         Keep Edmond Clean - Help Stop Illegal Dumping!


Information acquired from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality's Land Protection Division's Fact Sheets. For additional information please visit ODEQ's Land Protection Division's site, or use the links below to access the Fact Sheets directly:
   •  Illegal Roadside Dumps
   •  Open Dumping & its effects on our environment
   •  Recycling Statistics


Stormwater Quality
Nancy Kennedy
Stormwater Manager

Jeff Byram
Hydrologist

Jordan Copeland
Water Quality Specialist

Sarah Ortega
Water Quality Specialist

Mike Moore
Stormwater Technician

10 S. Littler
Edmond, OK 73034

Ph: (405) 359-4772

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