Nasty, smelly and expensive: Why illegal dumping in Portage County is a bad idea

Portage County officials are cracking down on illegal dumping across the area. 

"It does appear to be getting worse," Deputy Alex Boulton with the Portage County Sheriff's Office said. "Littering is beyond belief. Littering is to a point where it's nearly impossible to keep up with."

It's not just an ugly and stinky problem — it's dangerous.

"You have to worry about rats and other rodents. You've got mosquitoes, you've got Zika, you've got West Nile," Bill Steiner, the director of Portage County Solid Waste Management District, said.

The piles of dumped junk are illegal and they're costing Portage County tax payers money.

Both Boulton and Steiner said they have had enough. 

"It's the actions of the few that penalize the many," Steiner said. 

There will be no more warnings and no more second chances. Officials have installed cameras all over the county, and they're coming after the folks behind the mess. 

"We'll eventually catch you," Steiner said.

Dumping trash outside a bin can be a felony crime, with up to $10,000 in fines and two to four years behind bars. Putting trash and non-recyclable materials in a recycle bin is a third-degree misdemeanor littering charge. 

"Some people have become really ingenious, they'll put the trash at the bottom of the cart, recyclables on the top, and when the driver dumps the cart, all that stuff comes out, and by then it's too late to get it out of the truck," Steiner said.

If you have a bunch of trash and you're thinking about getting rid of it the wrong way, Boulton said you'll get caught sooner or later.

"I suggest you pay for the service. Get a garbage collector, recycling and do what you're supposed to do," Boulton said. 

Authorities encourage anyone who lives around a mess or who comes across one to take a photo and send it and some information to the Portage County Sheriff's office. 

You can contact Deputy Boulton directly at 330-678-8808 or by email.

You can learn more about accepted recyclable materials and what to do with those that aren't at www.portagerecycles.com.

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