New Hanover County

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Homeland Security Alert














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Sgt. J. J. Brewer














The Environmental Crimes Unit is responsible for conducting initial and follow up investigations of crimes that have a direct impact on the land, water or air of New Hanover County.  These include the illegal dumping and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste into the creeks, rivers, storm drains and illegal dump sites. 

Illegal dumping, (depositing material on public or private property without the consent of the owner), is the most common type of environmental crime.  Dumping is a significant cause of environmental degradation.  It has a negative economic impact on the community. 

How to Prevent Illegal Dumping in Your Neighborhood

  • Put up signs.

  • Create a sense of activity in the area so dumpers stay away.

  • Be mindful of vulnerable areas such as dead-end streets, vacant lots, and abandoned buildings or parking lots, and keep an eye on them.

  • Talk to your neighbors and share information with them on how to report illegal dumping.

Types of Material Illegally Dumped

Many items are routinely dumped along roadsides and in dead-end streets in New Hanover County.  The common materials usually dumped include:

  • Trash

  • Bulky Items

  • Leaves and brush

  • Waste tires

  • Household hazardous waste (paints, solvents, etc.)

  • Construction debris


Who Dumps Illegally and Why?

Many types of people dump illegally, so it can be difficult to develop one profile. However, common offenders include:

  • Local residents

  • Home improvement "do-it-yourselfers"

  • People who "haul for a nominal fee"

  • Junkyard operators

  • Construction, demolition, remodeling, roofing, or landscaping contractors

  • Automobile repair and tire shops

  • Scrap collectors

A resident may miss trash collection day and then dump waste.  People may also dump wastes that did not get picked up by local waste haulers, such as tires, leaves and brush, or household hazardous wastes.  Finally, some waste materials are banned from landfills, and residents who don't have access to services to handle these banned materials may dump because they don't want to pay the disposal fee.

An individual may claim to be operating a hauling company and charge a small fee for service.  If it seems like the fee is "too good to be true," then it probably is.  The individual may be illegally dumping your material in someone's neighborhood.  In many cases, illegal dumpers also are breaking other laws dealing with permits to haul, vehicle licensing, and insurance.

Sometimes someone may claim to operate a disposal business and accept waste at an unpermitted facility, only to abandon the facility when it reaches capacity.

Where Illegal Dumping Commonly Occurs

Unfortunately, illegal dumping occurs in lots of places.  However, it is common to find illegal dumping in abandoned industrial, residential, or commercial buildings and properties; vacant lots on public or private property; and along roadways and in alleys.  Rural roads and dead-end streets are particularly vulnerable to illegal dumping since they tend to be poorly lit and have little traffic.  Parks, wooded sites, and farms often experience illegal dumping because they are sparsely populated and dark.  While illegal dumping often occurs at night or in the early morning hours, it can occur at any time of day.


Effects of Illegal Dumping on Neighborhood Livability

There are many negative effects on a neighborhood that experiences illegal dumping.  First, there are significant health risks, including exposure to rodents, insects and other animals that make illegal dumps their homes.  Also, sharp objects, broken glass, and protruding nails, and heavy objects are dangerous to curious children, pets, and walkers who might come near them.  Finally, there may be hazardous chemicals found in illegal dumps that may cause illness or could cause a fire by arsonists or through spontaneous combustion.  In heavy rain, illegal dumping can leach hazard chemicals and could impact proper drainage of runoff, making areas more susceptible to flooding when wastes block ravines, creeks, culverts, and drainage basins.

Illegal dumping has a negative impact on the morale of a neighborhood. Illegal dumping results in decreased property values, thereby impacting property resale and the interest of commercial and residential developers.