TAYLOR, Texas — Illegal dumping has continued to prove to be an issue many Texas communities are facing, including here in Central Texas.
It's a problem the Williamson County Constable's Office, specifically Precinct 4, is dealing with daily.
"There's so much space in between mailboxes here, and so there's a lot of room to just pull over on the side of the road, dump it where no one's watching anything," said Lt. Mike Pendley with the Precinct 4 office.
Precinct 4 is the largest precinct in Williamson County. This proves to be a challenge for the department as there is plenty of land to cover and not enough help.
Pendley said that, for them, it's all about education.
"We're trying to gain compliance. We're trying to use some of these videos that we put out and the contacts that we make as an educational experience," he said.
Not only is dumping a problem for them, but the burden of actually getting the mess cleaned up falls on taxpayers.
"I think the last number that I heard is about $500,000 a year, and 99% of it's getting spent in our precinct," Pendley said.
Deputy Rashad Smith said this also poses major dangers, with some people dumping trailers of trash in the middle of the road at night.
"It was a backcountry road. No streetlights, nothing like that. So, God forbid, if someone had been driving down that road and didn't see at the last minute, that could have resulted in a very serious accident," Smith said.
When it comes to dumping, officers say your local landfill is where you need to take your items. By doing so, you will save more money and a lot of trouble for yourself in the long run.
KVUE caught up with the operators of the Williamson County landfill. They said they actually have some of the cheapest rates in Central Texas, estimating each ton of trash to only cost around $50.
Although that can add up, Smith said it is still the cheaper – and legal – route you should go.
"You're looking at, instead of paying $400, now you're looking at maybe a night or two in jail, your legal costs if you got an attorney, if you are going to have to bond out, have to pay that," Smith said.
Pendley said a lot of this dumping comes from construction work, so be sure to vet anyone you hire.
"If someone bids like, a cleanup or a remodel and they say, 'Hey, I can do it for 500 bucks,' and they load it up, they go to the dump and the dumps that can cost 300 bucks. Like, well, 'I'll just, you know, make more money on this,' and it ends up on the side of the road," he said.
Both Smith and Pendley made it clear that their office is here to help, not to get you in trouble.
"If you live in Travis County or Bastrop County or Bell County, I'm more than happy to give you an address to an approved landfill," Smith said.
Most counties have multiple options for dumping. Here is a list of at least one local landfill in your area:
- Travis County: 9600 FM 812, Austin, TX, 78719-9734
- Williamson County: 600 County Road 128. Hutto, TX, 78634
- Hays County: 3016 FM1327, Creedmoor, TX, 78610
- Bastrop County: 601 Cool Water Drive Bastrop, TX, 78602