By Joseph McCain
The Winston County Journal
The some roadways around Winston County have been cluttered with dumped garbage, household furniture, litter and much more over in the past few years as witnessed by any citizens traveling down country roads.
“There has been a lot of illegal dumping along the roadways,” Supervisor Larry Duran said. “We are not going to tolerate it anymore.”
On Ryles Road near Hwy 25 and 19 in Winston County illegal dumping has nearly blocked the road and made cleanup of the road and working the road costly for the. county.
Duran said illegal dumping has been a problem along country roads for some time, and in some areas it has come to a critical point of blocking roads and destroying the landscape.
Road crews in all 5 districts battle illegal dumping and such littering and dumping can cost the county up to $500 a day.
According to the Mississippi Department of Enviromental Quality anyone caught dumping trash can be prosecuted with high fines and some prison time.
Mississippi upped the fines and tightened up the law on this illegal activity in 1994 by raising the penalty on unauthorized dumping. As stated in Section 97-15-30 of the Mississippi Code, dumping waste for economic gain or if it weighs more than 500 pounds is a felony punishable by a $500 to $50,000 fine, five years in prison or both.
The law penalizes people who unlawfully dispose of non-hazardous and hazardous waste along the roads, in waters of the state or on private property unless the property owner has given written consent. Disposal on private property must not create a public nuisance or be in violation of other state laws.
According to the law, dumping material not exceeding 15 pounds in weight is littering, a misdemeanor with a penalty of $50 to $250. Dumping items weighing 15 to 500 pounds is also a misdemeanor carrying a fine of $100 to $1,000, imprisonment for up to two years or both.
The attorney general or district attorney may prosecute for any of these charges. The MDEQ offers support to the attorney general through witnesses. The agency also has the authority to order the individual or company that did the dumping to clean the site and request they pay up to $25,000 per day in fines.
The supervisors encourage any persons who spot illegal dumping to report it since such dumping costs every taxpayer in the county.