Oklahoma Army Corps of Engineers Battling Illegal Trash Dumpers
PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Army Corp of Engineers says they're battling an ongoing problem of people dumping trash on public land.
It's a problem park ranger Matt Reeves says the Corps has battled for years.
"These areas just keep getting worse,” says Reeves. “It takes a lot of time and resources away from us."
There are mattresses, boats, bottles, cans and other household trash. Dumping all of that is illegal, but now these dump sites are impacting the environment.
"We also see things like paint thinners, paint, all kinds of chemicals,” says Reeves.
Reeves says there are around ten dumpsites around Keystone Lake and most of them are in designated public hunting areas.
"A lot of our parks are very close to civilization whereas our hunting areas are secluded so it's easier for these folks, it’s an easier spot, It is an easier option for them to come out in the middle of nowhere and dump their trash,” says Reeves.
Reeves says taking time to clean up dumpsites, pulls workers away from their duties.
He say it's bad enough people keep dumping trash on public land, but even worse, people try to burn it.
"You have several problems,” says Reeves. “Obviously the trash, that's the big number one, but if they are burning it we have uncontrolled fire. If that fire gets out we have a wildfire."
Reeves says Oklahoma doesn't have a lot of public land to begin with and this isn't how it should be treated.
"We all own it,” says Reeves. “While I am here in uniform, I can enforce regulations, it is everyone's responsibility to ensure that this stays nice, as well as mine."
If you see someone dumping trash, don't confront them, just get a description of them and vehicle information and report that to local law enforcement.