Free to recycle, illegal dump instead costs taxpayers to clean up

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - The person who dumped paint, used oil, pesticides and diesel fuel on public lands created a costly mess for taxpayers and potentially caustic mix for the environment.

But they didn't save any money.

Everything cleaned up at a cost of $5,500 to U.S. taxpayers could have been recycled free of charge at the Lane County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center, according to Michael Mascari with the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM manages the land on Grimes Road west of Junction City.

"Illegal dumping is very costly to the taxpayer and may cause serious ecological damage. In this time of budget cuts, the problem is even worse," Mascari said.

The local BLM district spent $15,000 last year cleaning up illegal dumps. The agency spent $100,000 in Oregon and Washington alone.

This dump got cleaned up before any serious damage to the environment.

At other dump sites, however, the situation goes from bad to worse.

"We've had instances in the past where people have shot up dump sites, causing further contamination," said Walt Smith, an Environmental Protection Specialist with BLM.

The containers of paint, used oil pesticides and diesel fuel could have been recycled for free in Lane County.