County Leaders Seek More Control To Fight Illegal Dumping

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- On Monday night, members of the Craighead County Quorum Court were introduced to a new ordinance that would allow the county to clean up people's property where illegal dumping has occurred.

County Judge Dale Haas says it's something, he hopes, will solve the problem before it gets out of control.

"If you want it enforced, then we're going to put some teeth into it," said Haas.

If passed, the ordinance would allow the county to impose strict fines on, for example, anyone caught throwing out old tires and letting them pile up, or businesses disposing of waste improperly.

"It just gives us the right to enter that property by state statue," said George Johnson, Director of the Dept. of Environmental Services. "We have that right but we'll have authority to charge back to the people that are dumping."

Farmland is one exception and some court members take issue with that.

"These tires, if they came on my land and I'm farming, according to this they wouldn't apply," said Barbara Weinstock, a court member.

That's one area of amendment, Haas says, that will be looked at during future Quorum Court meetings.

As far as current penalties for illegal dumping, Johnson says they aren't enough.

"You can get fined up to $25,000 or face up to a year in jail," he said.

The ordinance will be due its second reading at next month's Quorum Court meeting.