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Trinity County deters residents from illegal dumping with surveillance system

Man attempts to throw couch into creek, but Trinity County Sheriff's caught the act on camera
Man attempts to throw couch into creek, but Trinity County Sheriff's caught the act on camera(for all use)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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TRINITY COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Illegal dumping is a common problem, especially in rural areas. Over the weekend, a man in Trinity County tried to dispose of a thousand pounds of trash in a nearby creek.

A mattress, tires, or household appliances are all large items people sometimes need to dispose of. Where should they put them? Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace says they should not put them on the side of the road.

“Dumping on these dirt roads in Trinity County has been a problem for quite a while. So, the last several years we’ve been putting up lots of cameras in different areas,” Wallace said.

And the system has been successful. Wallace says they’ve made several arrests and have seen a decline in illegal dumping. The cameras are placed strategically so they can spot a vehicle’s license plate.

“We’re not wanting to put people in jail, I mean contrary to what a lot of people think, that’s not our goal but we want people to be in compliance,” Wallace said.

Sheriff Wallace said that collections sites are a much better option. There is currently not a site in Trinity County, but Wallace said there are multiple in Polk and surrounding counties.

“It’s fairly expensive. It’s 15 to 20 dollars to throw a mattress, but that’s a lot cheaper than the fines you’re gonna get if you go out and throw your stuff on the side of the road,” Wallace said.

The attempt this weekend was resolved after Wallace went public with the images and gave the culprit a 48-hour warning before issuing a state jail felony.

“In this case you know, I think he learned his lesson. I don’t think he’ll ever do it again. He went down by himself and picked it up which was quite a chore because it was far down in the creek. So, he did dig it out and he sent me a receipt where he did pay to have it disposed of properly at a collection site,” Wallace said.

Sheriff Wallace said that his goal is to push residents to do the right thing.

“Sometimes you need to keep an honest man honest,” Wallace said.

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