FROM/CONTACT PERSON: Nick Muyo, Public Information Officer (408) 792-2826   For release on September 19, 2008   SANTA CLARA COUNTY OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO INCREASE PROSECUTIONS FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING   The Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies throughout the county, will be increasing enforcement of illegal dumping at donation collection centers.  This concern was recently brought to the attention of the Santa Clara County Police Chiefs Association by District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations Chief Thomas Brewer.  Local agencies are aware of the need for increased enforcement.    Law enforcement has received a growing number of complaints about garbage dumped at collection centers.  A recent trip to a local donation center showed piles of broken down mattresses, broken glass, furniture, car parts and hazardous waste left at the business.  There have been reports of contractors working on businesses and homes and then dumping garbage at the collection centers.  None of this “material” could be considered a useable donation.  Local charities can each spend up to $1 million per year to clean up this material.    California State law describes “illegal dumping” as the “willful or negligent throwing or dropping… of any waste matter on land or water in other than appropriate storage containers or areas designated for such purposes.”  Leaving material at a collection center after hours is considered to be illegal dumping.  The fines are $250 to $1,000 for a first time offense.  Dump tires and the fines are doubled.  Dumping hazardous waste could bring a felony charge, resulting in jail or prison time, if convicted.   District Attorney Dolores Carr added, “Part of preserving our natural resources and keeping our County beautiful means knowing how to dispose of hazardous materials and environmental waste.  To that end, my office will vigorously prosecute those individuals who seek an easy way around dealing with their own waste and garbage by dumping it in the laps of others.”   Santa Clara County residents are reminded that there are several landfills in the area that will accept garbage for a fee.  There are community events where the organizers have arranged for low- or no-fee dumping of garbage.  There are numerous E-waste recyclers that will accept garbage and hazardous materials free of charge, as well.   ###

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