GOAL 1: Establish an Effective Cross-Jurisdictional Illegal Dump Clean-Up Program
- Reduce repeated illegal dumping in the same location
- Assist local communities in clean-up activities
- Establish sustainable funding
- Coordination across organizational lines
- Develop an information collection system
Leaving even one illegal dump in an area is one too many, especially when one dump usually leads to additional dumping in the same area. We need to move away from the Broken Window Theory . . . “…if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken…. One unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares and so breaking more costs nothing.” James Wilson and George Kelling, Atlantic, 1982
Clean-up of illegal dumping is being accomplished through local, state pueblo/tribal and federal government entities, private land owners, industry, not-for-profit organizations and volunteers. New Mexico statutes hold the landowner responsible for clean up if the responsible party (generator or hauler) to a dumping incident can not be found.
New Mexico’s local governments carry a significant responsibility and burden for the clean up and maintenance of illegal dump sites within their communities in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens. The costs for these efforts are often “hidden” within various departmental budgets making it difficult to truly assess the extent of the problem. In 2006, a survey of illegal dumping impacts in county governments, estimated clean up and maintenance costs of current sites would be in excess of $1.08 million. Some local governments have developed successful “best practices” for addressing illegal dumping, but not every community has the same capacity and resources.
The NMED issues grants up to $600,000 annually, primarily for illegal dump abatement. Municipalities, counties, regional authorities, pueblos, tribes, and nations are eligible to apply for the grants. Grant funds come from the state’s Recycling and Illegal Dumping Act of 2005 (RAID.) Sustainable funding for this program comes from vehicle registrations.
The OETA for the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council is working with member tribes to clean-up or close dump sites. OETA works closely with the Indian Health Service on these issues.
The NMSLO contracts for dump clean-ups, including fencing and signage on State Trust Lands. The annual budget for State Lands dump clean-up is $100,000-200,000. The NMDT spent over $1.6 million to remove 14,000 tons of litter along the state’s roadways in fiscal year 2007.
The BLM’s Field Offices and USFS Ranger Districts routinely organize clean-up days involving volunteers and the public. BLM Field Office community clean-up activities usually involve from 5 to 15 employees, 10-30 or more community members, and cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars each. Costs include miscellaneous supplies, equipment, and disposal fees. In addition to public clean-up days, federal agency staff routinely cleans up dumped waste, especially waste found near areas used for recreation.