Illegal dumping on the rise, impacting training at JBLM

VIDEO: Illegal dumping on the rise, impacting training at JBLM

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Mattresses, plastic bottles, paint cans and more can be spotted in piles of illegally dumped trash in Pierce County.

“It’s really, really gross, it’s dangerous, there’s needles, there’s sharp glass, pointy objects,” said Sgt. Darren Moss, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

It’s hard to drive through Pierce County without spotting a pile of illegally dumped trash.

Content Continues Below

“It’s everywhere, and it’s getting worse. Just this morning, we had a stack of pallets dumped in our parking lot,” said Chris Phibbs.

Moss said it’s a constant battle that the county’s spending precious time, money and resources to clean up.

“The taxpayers are footing the bill,” he said. “It might not be so expensive to dump it, but it’s expensive to pay people to come and clean it. It’s all hazardous stuff because there’s needles, there’s batteries, there’s motor oil.”

People ditch trash, couches, cars, construction materials, RVs and boats.

“They don’t care, and they’re narcissists,” said Phibbs.

Over the weekend, someone dumped a 60-foot single wide mobile home in Roy.

“If you want to love your city, like I do, I was born and raised here, and it’s not good. I don’t like it at all,” said Phibbs.

It’s also a constant issue at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Soldiers recently picked up 128 tons of illegally dumped junk. It’s dangerous, it’s impacting military training, and clean up at JBLM costs taxpayers $500,000 a year.

Crews are adding concrete barriers and signs to the base to try to keep people out, but many worry the mounting messes littering yards and streets won’t be stopped.

“If they don’t get caught, they’re going to keep doing it,” said Phibbs.

If caught, people can be fined up to $5,000 and be required to pay for cleanup costs, which start at $500.