Going after those who dump their trash along rural Osage County roads

Wednesday, December 8th 2004, 10:12 am

By: News On 6

Osage County is littered with more than 50 illegal dumping sites. Folks dump their trash on the side of the road and county residents end up paying the bill to clean it up.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says Osage County's trying to put a stop to it.

Some people are using a stretch of road north and west of Tulsa as a trash can. Rev Rubin Conley: "It gets cleaned up and then a few days later someone will start in dumping and I guess the perpetrators see where someone else has dumped and figure its safe and they'll slip back in here too."

It’s one of the most active illegal dumping grounds in Osage County. It's been cleaned twice in the past year. But the mattresses and furniture are already piling up again, leaving a trail of trash half a mile long.

Folks who live around the area have put up signs to try to put a lid on dumping. But it hasn't worked. That's why Osage County Sheriff’s deputy Joe Lucas is on the case. And he's tracking these illegal dumpers down.

"Its punishable by jail time and or a fine. I don’t know if they don’t realize it’s a crime or they don’t really care. This is all new the mattresses and stuff is probably less than two weeks old." Deputy Sheriff Lucas patrols the area often, trying to catch people in the act and picking through the garbage for clues on who's doing the dumping.

If he finds your name, you could end up with a notice and a fine ranging from $200 to $5,000. Osage County is making this a priority because everyone is paying the price. "It costs the taxpayers lots of money cause these sites don’t get cleaned up on their own."

The Osage Nation recently received a federal grant for $278,000 to clean up and prevent illegal dumping.

Workers will be out Thursday clearing one site north and west of Tulsa.

14 sites have been cleaned already; they cost Osage County anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 each.

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