One man’s trash is the Richmond County Marshal’s Office evidence.
Illegal dumping has spiked around town and authorities are trying to do something about it.
Colonel Bill Probus with the Richmond County Marshal’s Office, says, illegal dumping is “somewhere people can get in and get out without being seen.”
It’s happening all over Richmond County. Some people may think it’s just trash. However, if it’s for commercial gain, meets a certain weight requirement, or is hazardous material, it becomes a felony charge.
“We basically do a full blown investigation. Who did it? Who dumped this here?” says Col. Probus.
The Marshal’s Office, Code Enforcement, and Environmental Services all take part in sorting through and cleaning up the area.
“If you’ve even just got a paper bill from, you know John Smith, we’re going to go see John Smith and say, ‘hey why did we find your cable bill over here when you live over on Main St., and I found this out in the country,’ and then we go from there,” says Col. Probus.
On his team is Lt. Bill Norman. Lt. Norman says, “if we find someone who has dumped here, and we were able to prove that they were the ones that dumped here, there is no distinction between what they dumped, and what they didn’t dump. We can charge them with the entire pile.”
And, it’s more than just a crime.
“Some of the things you are going to see at some of these dump sites are leaking God knows what into the soil, therefore, it’s getting into our groundwater, therefore, it’s getting into our bodies eventually,” says Col. Probus.
So, why not the garbage men? Are they not doing their part?
“It’s gotta be in that receptacle for a trash company to have any responsibility for it,” says Col. Probus.
As more trash piles up, more crime enters the neighborhood.
“When you allow things to go on in your community, like dumping or like dilapidated houses, where windows are broken out of, that’s where the Broken Window Theory comes from, is that it invited the criminal element.”
For a cleaner, safer Augusta, if you see illegal dumping happening call dispatch right away. If you don’t see it in the act, but you see it on the streets, contact 311, or their Facebook page @Richmond County Marshal’s Office.