Illegal Dumping Resources
Other Related Resources
Filing an Illegal Dumping Complaint
For persons seeking to file a complaint regarding illegal dumping, illegal dumping can be reported as follows:
Contact your local enforcement agency or local Solid Waste Enforcement Officer for your county or municipality. If an officer is not listed for your county or municipality, we encourage you to contact another local enforcement agency such as your police department, sheriff's department, or local code enforcement office.
You may report your complaint to MDEQ. You may remain anonymous when you file an illegal dumping complaint with MDEQ. MDEQ Contact Number: 601-961-5171.
Remember you will need as much information as possible on the complaint site, including the following:
- The exact location where the dumping is occuring. (Most important)
- The responsible party, if known.
- The types of wastes involved.
- The problems you have noted or are experiencing.
- Information on the vehicle involved including the license plate number and description of the vehicle and person(s) involved.
- The date and time of the incident(s).
There are a variety of important components to a local program for the prevention of illegal dumping. The components include the following:
Implementation of an Adequate Solid Waste System
Establishing Local Enforcement Programs & Personnel
MDEQ encourages local governments to establish or designate a local solid waste enforcement officer or agency. Numerous local governments throughout the state have designated local enforcement personnel. A listing of these local officers can be found here.
These enforcement officers should have knowledge of state solid waste laws and regulations and of the local solid waste system and local options for waste management. The MDEQ Solid Waste Assistance Grants (SWAG) program can help fund salary support for local solid waste enforcement officers who are employed by local agencies or departments such as local sheriff’s offices, code enforcement offices, public works departments, road departments and other local agencies. The following links are provided to assist local Enforcement Personnel in understanding state laws and regulations and in developing an adequate local prevention and enforcement program:
Maintaining an Effective Local Process
Each community should establish and maintain an effective local process that enables citizens to file complaints regarding illegal dumping and other similar solid waste matters and to have those illegal dumping complaints investigated and resolved.
The local government process must include an investigation process that is effective in identifying the responsible party. The responsible party should be contacted and notified with proper recommendations that would resolve the complaint. The process must include procedures for pursuing formal enforcement actions in the local court system when an illegal dumping matter cannot otherwise be resolved.
In order for the local process to investigate and resolve complaints to be effective, MDEQ encourages local governments to consider developing and adopting their own local solid waste management and illegal dumping ordinances.
Importance of Local Ordinances
Local ordinances can be extremely effective when implementing an adequate solid waste system. These ordinances should define acceptable waste management and disposal conditions and also should define what is deemed an illegal dumping violation.
MDEQ promotes the adoption of local illegal dumping ordinances because such ordinances provide counties and municipalities with a local enforcement tool and because they also help set the local standards for community appearance and pride. MDEQ has established a sample local ordinance that communities can use as a model in developing their own local ordinance for addressing illegal dumping.
Develop a Local Clean Up Program
Public Outreach and Education
Any program for the prevention, enforcement, and clean-up of illegal dumping must be supported by a strong local public outreach program. There are a number of agencies and organizations that provide public outreach and education to help eliminate, control, or clean-up illegal dumping or litter. Information on public outreach from these agencies can be found at the following web links:
In addition, MDEQ’s Solid Waste Assistance Grants can in part be used to support and provide public information and outreach. These grants can be used to provide information on local solid waste services and events and to help inform citizens on the penalties for illegal dumping and for litter. These grants can be used to support outreach efforts through printed materials, radio and television, billboards, social media efforts and a variety of other public information outlets.
Local governments should also consider using signage that communicates the message that random dumping or littering is illegal and punishable by law. Signage should be employed at sites commonly used for illegal dumping and litter. The use of “No Dumping” signs can be effective in deterring dumping and creating awareness of local ordinances also.
Trash Free Waters is another program that EPA has initiated to reduce the amount of trash and litter that enters streams and rivers, lakes and bays, beaches and coastlines, and ultimately the world’s oceans. This Agency work includes outreach and education, research, and new program partnerships. They have established web resources that provide guidance on how to keep trash out of our waters.
Air Quality Issues Associated with Illegal Dumping