King County may ease burden for victims of illegal dumping

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn has introduced legislation that would waive the fees for taking refuse to county transfer stations in instances of illegal dumping.

Dunn worked with King County Executive Ron Sims on the second part of the new initiative.

“This ordinance will provide us with another important tool in our fight against illegal dumping,” said Executive Sims. “In the past we have successfully used fee waivers to facilitate cleanup after natural disasters, and this legislation uses the same incentives to clean up illegal dumping and improve the quality of life in King County.”

The measure aims to help owners clean up their properties by having the King County Solid Waste Division waive the tipping fees when owners can prove they were the victim of an illegal dumping.

Such fees range from a minimum of $17.25 up to $82 per ton.

“We know we can’t catch everyone who breaks the law, so we need to help the victims—especially those victims that can’t afford the cost of disposing of the trash that someone else dumped on their property,” Dunn said. “It’s important that these sites are cleaned up quickly so they don’t become public health risks. Helping people with their fees will encourage them to get it cleaned up.”

In August, Dunn and Sims introduced legislation toughening penalties on offenders and requiring illegal dumpers to pay higher fees for restitution, with a portion of that payment going to the property owner whose land had been used as a dump.

The fee-waiving ordinance proposed by Dunn and Sims focuses on property owners whose land is dumped upon where no offender can be found.

Illegal dumping sites can attract rats and can become a breeding ground for disease, they said.

In 2006 and 2007, illegal dumping reports in King County numbered in the hundreds. However, actual numbers may be much higher due to the low percentage of dump sites that are actually reported, according to a statement from Dunn.

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