What is Illegal Dumping?

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Illegal dumping has become increasingly common in Connecticut. Offenders often dump late in the night to avoid the inconvenience and costs associated with proper dumping. What the culprits don’t know is that the habit is prohibited by law and carries severe consequences if you were to go to court. Improper dumping of garbage, abandoned automobiles, household appliances, construction and demolition debris, and other waste poses several risks to the environment and the general public. As a result, CT laws are very tough on careless waste disposal.

What is improper dumping?

There is no standard definition of improper dumping. Generally, any of the following scenarios will amount to improper dumping;

  • An individual or business dumping waste into sewers or waterways, without a license to do so.
  • Dumping waste on a property (public or private) that is not licensed as a waste disposal site.
  • Allowing an individual or a business to dump waste on one’s land if the land in question isn’t licensed to receive waste.

Waste disposal is also controlled at the federal level. Federal laws including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act are very demanding and carry harsh consequences.

Littering vs. illegal dumping

People often ask “What is the difference between the two?” Well, littering and dumping are distinguished by the type and volume of waste in question. For instance, carelessly throwing an empty beverage bottle along the road is considered littering.

On the other hand, throwing an old television set on land that isn’t licensed to carry such waste constitutes illegal dumping. State laws differ on how much household waste should constitute illegal dumping. In CT, it can be as little as that which fills an ordinary garbage can.

The type of waste also comes to question. Toxic chemicals and hazardous electronics are strictly controlled. Improper disposal of items such as car batteries and fluorescent tubes may therefore be treated as illegal dumping however small the volume is.

What will you be charged with; misdemeanor or felony?

A misdemeanor is a crime mostly punishable by incarceration and sometimes a fine. Felonies carry potential sentence to state prisons and significant fines. In general felonies are more serious than misdemeanors.

In CT, illegal dumping can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on;

  • The volume of waste
  • The types of waste
  • Who is dumping the waste; an individual or a business
  • Whether or not the offended has committed similar crimes in the past

A repeat offender, particularly a business, dumping large volumes of hazardous wastes, is more likely to attract felony charges.

What can you do to address illegal dumping in your dumpster?

There are several things you can do to stop people from illegally dumping in your dumpster;

  • Write a sign to tell them to stop– maybe they don’t know it’s illegal. Take the initiative to remind them.
  • Report the matter to the local law enforcement officers – the police will be happy to help. They may even monitor the area more frequently to control the dumping.
  • If it isn’t a big deal, let it go – however, if the dumping is creating a mess, consider renting an extra dumpster.

Contact Us

Residential Waste Systems is the dumpster rental partner of choice in and around Fairfield and parts of New Haven County. Contact us today on 203-334-1660 for all your household cleanup, junk removal, waste recycling and dumpster rental needs.


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