Officials in West Odessa Seeing Increase of Hazardous Materials Being Illegally Dumped

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

WEST ODESSA - The first month of the year is about to be over and already Ector County Environmental Officers have been extremely busy, that's because lately they have been seeing an increase of illegal dumping of hazardous materials on the side of the road.

"Here lately we have seen an increase of drums being dumped on the side of the road," Environmental Officer, Ted Yelley, said.

According to Yelley, there has been an increase of hazardous material being dumped illegally on the side of the road. Just recently they found more than a dozen barrels of full of oil on the side of a county road.

"The latest one we had 17 drums of oil that were dumped on the side of the road and they were leaking at the time when we found them," Yelley said.

Yelley says there are companies that either pay for the unwanted fuel or tell you where you can dispose of it properly instead of dumping it on the side of the road.

"There are options besides taking them and dumping them on the side of the road. There are five recycle places in Midland or Odessa that actually will set up a site, collect your oil and sometimes even buy it from you," Yelley said.

Not only are people dumping the barrels of oil on the side of the road, they are also burning copper, which makes it illegal.

"We've been having a lot of people that are burning copper and the fumes from the copper are very toxic and that is a violation of the Clear Air Act, that's actually a Class A Misdemeanor," Yelley said.

He says illegal dumping of any type of hazardous material is a problem that can affect anyone, therefore residents should always be alert of any suspicious activity.

"Everybody is our eyes and ears for us. If they see something, they can report it we have a way you can report it on the Ector County website also they can call us. If it's in progress they can call 911 and the sheriff will dispatch someone out there," Yelley said.

If you are caught illegally dumping any hazardous material, it is considered a felony, which could land you behind bars and you pay a hefty fine.