Police investigate illegal dumping on federal land

Police investigate illegal dumping on federal land
Piles of trash dumped recently on protected land
Piles of trash dumped recently on protected land
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Officer Geoff Donaldson says the economy has played a role in illegal dumping
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Officer Geoff Donaldson says the economy has played a role in illegal dumping

PULASKI COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - It's an eyesore and in some cases a hazard: someone has been dumping mounds of trash on the Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge.

"You've got computer parts, you've got furniture, you've got things I don't even know what they are," said U.S. Fish & Wildlife Officer Geoff Donaldson.

It's has become an all too familiar sight for Officer Donaldson. He's seen several piles of trash dumped recently on protected land.

"Broader than a simple littering case," said Donaldson. "This is where someone comes out here, pulls up to public land and sweeps out the back of a pickup truck."

What's worse - Donaldson has learned that some people are cashing in as they destroy green space.

A recent investigation into a different dump site in the Cypress Creek Refuge lead officers to a woman who said she'd hired a man to haul away her household waste. She didn't know the man she hired wasn't headed to the landfill. The man now faces charges for dumping on federal land.

"The owner of this garbage may not know it's sitting out here." said Donaldson pointing at a large pile of miscellaneous household rubbish located just west of Ullin in Pulaski County. "They may have gone through the effort to hire someone to pick it up properly and then somebody thought I'll save a dollar or two and go out to public property and just dump it."

Donaldson says it seems as the economy slumped, more people have dumped.

"Instead of taking it to a landfill or a place they can dump properly, it's very convenient for them to save a buck or two and come out here and dump it on the side of the road," said Donaldson. "To me, it's a slap in the face. It's disrespectful, and they're really just disrespecting themselves because this is public land."

Investigators say they need your help in putting an end to illegal dumping. If you see someone dumping trash - take down a license plate number or at least a vehicle description and call police.

Dumping trash on a national wildlife refuge can lead to federal charges, thousands of dollars in fines, and in some cases - the offender ends up cleaning up the mess themselves.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.