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Concern over illegal dumping on east side

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 06:24:37-04

Residents in one east side neighborhood are tired of seeing piles of trash in the desert areas behind their homes.

The area in question is open desert land in the Groves Park neighborhood near Kolb and Escalante. Piles of garbage litter a desert behind one subdivision.
 
There are old, broken couches, burned mattresses, tires, building and landscaping materials, and more. Residents in the area say this has gotten worse in the past year.
 
"It's filthy," said Ellen Lougee.
 
Lougee says she has called the city and her ward office about the dumping going on behind her house.
 
"Nothing has been done about it. I'm concerned that the kids cannot play back here, I'm concerned about illegal activity, fires going on back here, air quality, the dumping is a huge concern," she said.
 
Some residents say there are new piles of trash almost nightly. Last week, Lougee saw someone dumping herself.
 
"A two-door, red Bronco, and a man dumping carpet," Lougee said.
 
Nine On Your Side spoke to officials with Tucson Code Enforcement and the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality to find out neither of them have jurisdiction over this plot of land. It owned by the State of Arizona.
 
We contacted the land department and got the following response:
 
"Our Trespass & Environmental Unit has posted several signs around the parcel, as well.  In February 2015, we reached out to Tucson PD to ask for their assistance in stopping the illegal activity, and they passed on the information to their patrol officers.  However, we now realize that the Department will have to come up with a fencing strategy to implement on the parcel in the near future.  In the past, the Department has worked with local community groups to aid with cleanup at the site and will continue to seek out partnerships within the City to help prevent illegal dumping and report any illegal activities on State Trust land as they are occurring."
 
According to Arizona Revised Statutes, illegal dumping can come with a fine of up to $15,000. The Los Reales Landfill is open six days a week to accept garbage. For residential dumping it is $15 for the first 2,000 pounds and $32 for every ton after that. For commercial dumping it is $32 per ton.