ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES)
Tuesday, Midland County Commissioners Court approved for a new job to be created to help clean up the trash from illegal dumping in the county.
The environmental investigator position is essentially a police officer for the environment they protect the air, land, and water from polluters and illegal dumping.
Ector County has already been operating with an environmental investigator since 2011 and was one of the first and only counties in West Texas to do so.
The agency covers the 902 square miles that Ector County has to offer and officers act as county employees with full jurisdiction over the county.
The West Odessa area seems to be where the most complaints are coming through.
The team has grown from one police officer to three, and hope to grow more in the future.
The department is led by Director of Ector County Environmental Enforcement Rickey George.
"I am from Ector County. I take pride in where I was raised. I don't want to see our County trashed so when I come to work every day I take it personally. This is where I am from and that’s the reason we do the job here, "said George.
The environmental enforcement job doesn't just handle illegal dumping, they also enforce waste haulers too which generally come from the oil field.
Anyone violating the environmental policies could receive a citation.
The waste haulers are required to be marked on all three sides with a Waste Haulers Permit number and their company name.
The permits are issued by the Texas Railroad Commission and it is illegal to copy or use a permit that has not been issued to the driver.
George, says illegal dumping is a bigger problem than some people might think. "It’s a huge problem. It's an epidemic in both counties especially Midland and Ector County. Illegal dumping cost the taxpayers," said George.
How it costs the taxpayers is if people are illegally dumping their trash, and don’t pay the disposal cost the county has to pick up the bill.
It's not just a monetary cost, but health concerns and unhealthy living conditions are added to the list of problems.
Also, consider the invitation that piles of trash create a home and nesting place for not so welcomed visitors.
"The reality of it is your creating a habitat, for rodents such as mice, mosquitos, bugs, insect and things that eat those things, which is snakes eat mice. So if you create a habitat with these rodents, you also attract other unwelcomed guests," said George.