SAN ANTONIO – Local leaders are cracking down on what they say are illegal dump sites, including a giant pile of roofing shingles on the city’s east side.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only one they saw on a recent helicopter trip across the area.
“It wasn’t just one or two. There were dozens of them,” says District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval. “Not just are they an eyesore, but they leech into the water.”
Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff was also on that chopper tour.
“You can see the oil discharge that’s going into the rivers,” Commissioner Wolff says.
He pointed the Trouble Shooters to another big illegal dump site, this one in East Bexar County: a mountain of construction materials that’s been cited by both the county and the state.
“I was amazed at the size of some of these things,” Commissioner Wolff says.
Even with dump sites being serious environmental hazards, the Trouble Shooters learned the way laws are written, it’s very hard for local leaders to keep property owners accountable.
“There are limits in what we can fine people,” Commissioner Wolff says. “We can fine you $500 a day for each time you’re not compliant. Well, this one company was making $50,000 a month. And so the cost-benefit analysis in their mind was, I don’t care, fine me all you want. Not that they were paying those fines anyway.”
Local leaders are working to put more teeth into the laws and make it easier to get the dump sites cleaned up quickly.
Many of the sites are in isolated parts of town and hard to see from the road.
“And these are sites that really grew in the past year or so when a lot of our roofs were being repaired because of the hail storms,” Councilwoman Sandoval says.
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for making sure your contractor shows you a signed piece of paper explaining where they’re dumping building materials. State law hold you accountable for the disposal of those materials.
Article originally published by News 4 SA – Emily Baucum