Discarding waste in an improper or illegal manner, where it does not belong and/or where environmental damage is likely to occur, is called “Illegal Dumping.” Waste typically found at illegal dumpsites are tires, appliances, furniture, construction/remodeling debris, mattresses and household trash.
Illegal dumpsites can be located anywhere.
The difference between “littering” and “illegal dumpsites” is the quantity of items being disposed.
What can I do if I see an illegal dumpsite?
- If individuals see illegal dumping in progress, safely take identifying information such as make/model of vehicle(s) and license plate information. With this information, the Solid Waste Department can have the individuals tracked down and fined.
- If individuals come across an illegal dumpsite, please call the Solid Waste Department at 501-321-6911 for waste removal. When calling, please make sure to give a detailed report so the site can be easily located.
- If the illegal dumping is happening on your property, put up “no trespassing” and “no dumping” signs.
- If the signs do not work, consider security cameras or report the incident(s) to the Hot Springs Police Department.
What are the health risks of illegal dumping?
- Individuals can come into contact with dangerous debris, such as rusty nails, needles, sharp metals and chemicals.
- Dangerous chemicals leaked at illegal dumpsites can run into area waterways and can contaminate nearby soil.
- Illegal dumpsites are also ideal locations for rodents, vermin and mosquitos (potentially carrying diseases), which can pose major health hazards to individuals living nearby.
- Residents could also have a strain on their mental health when it comes to illegal dumpsites, as areas known for illegal dumping are referenced as “dirty” and residents often do not feel comfortable or safe in such areas.
What are the environmental issues of illegal dumping?
- Dangerous chemicals can leak into the soil and area waterways, which would cause damage to plants, wildlife and water quality.
- Wildlife can get ill from eating the waste and potentially could become entangled in the debris. Fish may experience shortened oxygen supply or ingest waste particles.
- Illegal dumpsites can also attract wildlife not native to the area, which can introduce new diseases and predators.
- Increase risks of flooding and fires
- Waste dumped in waterways can block the natural flow of water and lead to flooding issues over time, and can also speed up the process of erosion.
- Dumped waste is also susceptible to spontaneous fire combustion and/or arson.
- Appliances can release chlorofluorocarbon into the air, which damages the earth’s ozone layer.
- When illegal dumping happens in urban or residential areas, potential property owners will look elsewhere, which will bring the property values down.
How can I help?
- Raise awareness on the dangers of illegal dumping.
- Adopt a city street and/or participate in the Knock Out Litter Program to help keep our community clean and free from illegal dumping.
- If you see something, say something; report illegal dumping to the Solid Waste Department at 501-321-6911.
What are the penalties for illegal dumping?
- The city ordinance related to illegal dumping can be found at 9-1-7: Illegal Disposal of Solid Waste in Title 9.
9-1-7: Illegal Disposal of Solid Waste states, "It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to illegally dispose, or cause to be illegally disposed, any wastes as defined in this chapter.
- In or upon any public or private highway or road, including any portion of the right-of-way thereof;
- In or upon any private property into or upon which the public is admitted by easement or license, or any private property;
- In or upon any public park, or other public property, other than the property designated or set aside for waste disposal by the governing board or body having charge thereof; or
- Upon any property for which a waste disposal permit has not been issued by the ADEQ."
The penalty for 9-1-7: Illegal Disposal of Solid Waste is found at 1-1-15: General penalty where no specific penalty provided in Title 1.
1-1-15. General penalty where no specific penalty provided states, "Pursuant to A.C.A. '14-55-504, the following fine or penalty for violating any provisions of the Hot Springs Code of Ordinances shall be as stated hereinafter. This general penalty shall apply to all ordinances where no other fine or penalty is provided and to those ordinances which adopt this general penalty by reference.
- Fine or Penalty. Upon conviction in the municipal court, or any other court of competent jurisdiction, the fine or penalty shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) for any one specified offense or violation, or double that sum for each repetition of such offense or violation; provided, further, that if a thing prohibited or rendered unlawful is, in its nature, continuous in respect to time, the fine or penalty for allowing the continuance thereof, in violation of said code or any ordinance of this city, shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for each day that it may be unlawfully continued.
- Statutory Penalty. Notwithstanding the provisions contained within the foregoing subsection, the fine or penalty for violating any provisions of the Hot Springs Code of Ordinances shall not be less severe than any fine or penalty prescribed for similar offenses against the state laws by the statutes of the State of Arkansas.
- Imprisonment. Any person who, upon conviction in the Hot Springs Municipal Court, or any other court of competent jurisdiction, of any violation of any provision of the Hot Springs Code of Ordinances that is criminal in nature may, in addition to any other fines and penalties, be punished by not more than one (1) year in imprisonment.
- The following attachments are the Arkansas Code Annotated to ordinances and penalties for illegal dumping for the State of Arkansas.