To curb illegal dumping, county offers free landfill drop-off in - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

To curb illegal dumping, county offers free landfill drop-off in April

Officer Mike Burton picks through a dump site north of Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff) Officer Mike Burton picks through a dump site north of Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff)
Tires sit in a row at an illegal dump site to the north of Tyler. (Source: KLTV) Tires sit in a row at an illegal dump site to the north of Tyler. (Source: KLTV)
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Every year, Smith County opens up its landfill for gratis public drop off. It's happening soon, and as the sheriff's office continues to find large illegal dumping sites throughout the county, they're asking for help.

For the month of April, they're offering vouchers at every Justice of the Peace office in the county, for residents to pick up, then use to drop off three cubic yards of trash at the dump.

It's all in order to curb illegal dumping to the designated legal area, and with spring cleaning on to-do lists, the county says its a time when all its residents can drop off larger ticket items that are too ratty or old to donate.

Tommy Goodman and Mike Burton visit illegal dump sites almost every day. They're litter abatement officers for the county, and on Monday, they were at a site in far north of Tyler. 

"We're going to look through any of the trash we found for any kind of identification," Officer Goodman said. 

They're looking for old ID's, billing statements, or names on envelopes that might lead them back to the alleged litter bug.

"We'll follow up on the addresses we got and the names we got," Officer Burton said.

They dig through old rotting trash, tires, broken television sets and trash bags that make up the small mountain of trash. They say the worst thing they've ever smelled on the job were dirty diapers, sitting in the Texas summer sun.

With spring, new growth is moving over the forest floors just off the county road they're walking along. New roots and brush crawl over tires and move their way through a torn sofa. But also with spring, what they call the "county-wide cleanup" begins. 

Beginning April 1, Smith County residents can pick up their vouchers and drop three cubic feet of garbage off at the dump.

"That's about the size of a regular pick up truck bed," Officer Goodman said.

It's to keep the county clean, and ultimately to save money. Goodman says every time they have to send crews to clean up these dump sites, it costs tax payers money. And the more illegal dumping there is, the more these two officers have to come around, looking for the litter bugs.

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