Trash cop tracks down illegal garbage dumpers at JBLM

Dedicated 'trash cop' coming after people throwing garbage on JBLM

People illegally dumping trash at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will want to think twice.

The base has a dedicated "trash cop" who's coming after people throwing garbage on base.

"It pisses me off, excuse my language,” said Greg Mason.

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Mason's fed up with what he sees. He's an environmental investigator who's been busting people illegally dumping trash on JBLM for nearly 15 years.

"I would say it's a multimillion-dollar-a-year problem, but that also includes not just the hauling costs for disposing the trash, but also the time it takes the soldiers to come out, clean it up and bring it in to us,” he said.

Soldiers are stuck cleaning up the garbage, appliances and drug paraphernalia people leave behind. The trash is left on areas of base that aren’t fenced off to the public.

"They would much rather be training than out here picking up all this garbage,” said Mason.

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Mason takes it personally. He's a veteran himself.

KIRO 7 tagged along as he combed through mounds of trash, searching for clues that can tie people to the crime.

"One of the things I would look at is this book,” he said.

It only took him minutes to strike gold.

"It has a lot of good information on it, patient name, date of birth,” said Mason.

Personal information Mason finds in the trash can lead him to the culprit. Officials sue the person who dumped the trash, costing the owner anywhere from about $800 to more than $10,000.

Mason's work is helping crack down on the amount of garbage dumped on base.

When he took the job in 2005, more than 600 tons of trash were dumped at JBLM. Last year, soldiers picked up less than 100 tons.