Illegal dumping in Bamberg County
Written by Mallory D. Biering   

Recently, several citizens have made complaints to the Bamberg County Sheriff's Office about litter being dropped off at various locations throughout the county, which is a charge of illegal dumping. Illegal dumping, is defined by the DHEC as the improper disposal of waste at any location other than a permitted landfill or facility, and occurs in open areas, along roadsides, in wooded areas and even in state parks.

For the past three weeks, land owners and concerned citizens found bags of trash dumped on the side of the road on their or other's property. These citizens brought the dumping to the attention of the sheriff's office, who are currently speaking with the subjects supposedly doing the illegal dumping.

Throughout the county, signs asking for people not to litter can be found. Trash cans are placed throughout the county at different businesses, several dumps can be located throughout the county as well.

The sheriff's office is investigating and talking with the persons involved in each case. According to one incident report, the debris found, "revealed names, addressed, social security numbers, dependent children, and a contact phone number." When the subject was notified of the problem the person, "seemed oblivious to the suggestion of illegal dumping."

Finding a solution to this problem will help eliminate, "human health risks associated with illegal dumping," which attracts rodents and insects. Finding solutions to this problem will also help eliminate damage of property.

DHEC's website explains any person convicted of illegal dumping may be fined, ordered to clean up the site and/or given a jail sentence. Title 16, Chapter 11 of South Carolina Litter Laws state a person who litters in an amount less than 15lbs. guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined $200 or imprisoned for no more than 30 days. For a third or subsequent conviction a person must be fined $500 or imprisoned for no more than 30 days. In addition to the fine or term or imprisonment, 15 to 100 hours of litter gathering or other forms of public service will be imposed, depending on the number of times a person has been convicted of the crime.

Some citizens in the county already help make the county a cleaner place to live, like Ted Robertson, a Bamberg County citizen, who has taken the time to make various signs for the Bamberg County Litter Control Board. According to Robertson, the litter free signs throughout the county were donated by different businesses. "We hope those traveling our roads will get the message to not put litter down in the first place. We feel like the economic impact that we would like to have in Bamberg County will be related to how much we care in Bamberg County."

If a person is aware of illegal dumping, or an open dump, they are asked to contact local authorities or DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling.