WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office is taking new steps to deal with illegal dumping.

The Sheriff’s Office recently hired a new deputy with a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The sole purpose of the DEQ Compliance Deputy is to catch people who are illegally dumping trash.

Deputy Michelle Casady came on board with the Sheriff’s Office in January.

“I do routine patrols.  I kind of look for places that might appear like people are dumping at.  Usually it’s kind of back in the woods and hidden areas,” said Casady.

Casady is the only deputy who Sheriff Chris Elliot brought on board with the goal of cleaning up areas and holding those who throw trash away illegally accountable for their actions.

“She’s been very successful in identifying and apprehending people that are dumping trash and industrial goods,” stated Elliot.

Casady, who received specialized training, also deals with sewage and open burning complaints and can write citations and make arrests just like any other deputy.

“It’s our environment.  People don’t realize how much they’re hurting our environment,” declared Casady.  “People don’t realize all the health hazards that they’re putting everybody else into.”

Casady says she loves educating people and is determined to help keep Wagoner County clean.

“It’s such an accomplishment to be able to come out here and tell them, ‘hey, this is how it’s gonna hurt the environment.  This is what you’re doing.’  And kind of educating people,” stated Casady.

Elliot says, “this is a beautiful county and we want to keep it nice and keep it clean, and people need to take care of their own trash.”

If you have a complaint about illegal dumping, you can call the Sheriff’s Office dispatch.