Contra Costa leaders introduce bill in response to illegal dumping

Source: Written by Erica Pieschke with KRON 4

CONTRA COSTA, Calif. (KRON) – Contra Costa County leaders introduced a bill on Thursday in response to the illegal dumping plaguing communities.

“The illegal dumping of trash, furniture, mattresses, appliances, and toxic materials is out of control in both our rural and urban areas – it isn’t just unsightly, it is putting the health of our communities and environment at risk,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. “Every Californian deserves the right to live in clean, garbage-free neighborhoods.”

At the press conference, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan was joined by Supervisor Diane Burgis, the bill’s sponsor.

This bill will expand on the legislative efforts from 2019 in the county. Funding had been provided to Alameda and Contra Costa counties for a pilot program for more enforcement of illegal dumping laws.

While the program was successful, leaders say more tools are necessary.

Previously, increased enforcement, street lighting and camera throughout the East Bay were included in the funding, however, leaders say California still lacks penalties for people.

This bill would raise fines up to $5,000 upon the first conviction. On the second, the fine would be up to $10,000 and up to $20,000 for the third.

This bill would also:

  • Give judges discretion to require the convicted to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping
  • Suspend the business license of any individual convicted of dumping waste connected to their business
  • Allow that person’s name and name of business to be publicly displayed as convicted of illegal dumping

“We want everyone to be doing the right thing, but there’s a limit to what we can do to educate and incentivize good behavior,” said Supervisor Diane Burgis of Contra Costa County. “It’s important for the public to understand that dumping has an impact on the quality of our drinking water, and that it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. I applaud Asm. Bauer-Kahan for her efforts to empower us with the tools we need at the local level to start getting greater control of this problem.”