New legislation seeks to enhance illegal dumping enforcement efforts

Senator Scott Wilk of the 21st district.

To protect rural communities from unlawful dumping, Sen. Scott Wilk has introduced Senate Bill 409, which seeks to enhance illegal dumping enforcement efforts.

“For too long, high desert and Inland Empire residents have dealt with trucks from Los Angeles driving through their neighborhoods, unlawfully dumping tons of broken concrete and unknown waste material into their communities,” Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said in a news release Thursday. “SB 409 would help put an end to the devastating impact this has had on the environment and our neighborhoods.”

With the increased costs of licensed dumpsites in Los Angeles County, many property owners have found it lucrative to allow unlawful dumping on their land, the release states. Truckers in turn make money by charging a client a high rate for “legal dumping” but instead deliver the waste to a property owner’s land for a far lower amount of money and pocket the difference.

“These bad actors are treating our high desert communities as dumps, selling our communities’ health, safety and environment for a quick buck,” Wilk said.

SB 409 makes it clear that property owners are required to follow all laws, codes and ordinances of the pertinent state or local agency before permitting dumping on their land, according to the release. The legislation also adds truckers to the unlawful dumping statute, which enables prosecutors to file criminal charges for transporting waste for unlawful dumping.

The release added the bill also aims to change an illegal dumping violation from an infraction to a misdemeanor and increases fines.

“These changes incentivize following the law, as existing fines are so low violators consider it cheaper to offend,“ according to the release. “SB 409 is an all-hands-on-deck approach to stopping unlawful dumping that damages our roadways, creates a public nuisance and results in environmental pollution.”

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