CLEAN WATER TIPS

WHAT IS ILLEGAL DUMPING?

Illegal dumping is waste that is thrown out in an unpermitted area. This could be in a vacant lot, someone’s yard, or on a roadside in a remote location. Generally, this often happens at night, but illegal dumping can happen anywhere and at anytime. Most of the time, illegal dumping occurs either to avoid disposal fees, or because of the time and effort needed to dispose of waste properly.

Illegal dumping is a common problem that often goes unaddressed in rural counties and areas. Often in remote areas where recycling centers aren’t as close by as some would like, people will take the easy route and find an unpopulated area without a lot of traffic and just dump their trash there; this is dumping. Not only does it destroy our beautiful scenery across Tennessee, and pose major issues financially and environmentally for county governments and municipalities, but it is also illegal!

WHAT IS LITTER?

Litter is defined by Tennessee law as perishable animal and vegetable waste, garbage, perishable and nonperishable solid waste and tobacco products.

TENNESSEE LITTER LAWS

Section 39-14-503. (a) Mitigated criminal littering is littering in an amount less than or equal to five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume. 

  • criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00)

Section 39-14-504. (a) Criminal littering is littering in an amount more than five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume and less than or equal to ten pounds (10 Ibs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume.

  • littering is a Class B misdemeanor, up to a $500 fine

  • In addition to the penalties established in this section, the court shall require a person convicted under this part to remove litter from the state or local highway system, public playgrounds, public parks or other appropriate public locations for not more than eighty (80) hours. The court, in its discretion, may also a person convicted under this section to work in a recycling center or other appropriate location for any stated period of time not to exceed eight (8) hours.

Section 39-14-505. (a) Aggravated criminal littering is littering:

  • In an amount exceeding ten pounds (10 lbs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume; or

  • In any amount for any commercial purpose

  •  Aggravated criminal littering is a Class A misdemeanor, except in the following circumstances, in which case it is a Class E felony, up to a $1,500 fine.

Tennessee Toll-Free Litter Hotline
1-877-8-LITTER PROVIDES MOTORISTS A WAY TO REPORT LITTER BUGS

Tennesseans who are tired of trash along state roadways now have a new tool to report litter bugs. The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced today a new toll-free litter hotline, 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). The litter hotline is part of the new statewide anti-litter campaign, StopLitter™. The hotline provides a way for Tennesseans to report people they witness littering along the state’s roadways, such as a person throwing a paper cup or cigarette butt out of a window, or an item falling from an unsecured load.

“The new toll-free litter hotline gives citizens the ability to Stop It,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Now anyone who witnesses a person littering can report it and trigger action to improve the quality of the environment and the cleanliness of our roadways. Tennessee has some of the best roads in the nation. With everyone’s help, we can have some of the cleanest, too.”

Citizens who witness a litter bug in action can call 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). Callers will reach a recording that asks them to provide information about the vehicle. The information that will be requested includes:

  • license plate number (Tennessee plates only)

  • type and make of the vehicle

  • day and time the incident occurred

  • location where the incident occurred

  • the type of item tossed or blown from the vehicle

TDOT will mail a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle along with a StopLitter™ car trash bag or portable ashtray and other anti-litter information. The letter is a gentle reprimand reminding the recipient that littering is against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $1500.

Click here for more information.

Charlene DeSha
Executive Director
P.O. Box 6550
Maryville, TN 37802
 
 

© 2016 by Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers