What’s up with dumping trash on the side of rural roads around Austin?
I rode my bike from my home in Allandale to Manor and back this morning, eager to knock off some miles in less than 100-degree heat. And while the ride featured some beautiful rolling terrain, a flyover by some model airplanes, late season sunflowers and a few docile cows, it also featured the worst piles of roadside trash I’ve seen in years.
As I pedaled along, I passed pile after pile of broken furniture, busted TVs, worn out mattresses, pieces of lumber and used football helmets – huge, heaping mounds of it. The piles were alongside rural roads just outside of the Austin city limits, where, I’m guessing, nobody really monitors for people unloading truckloads of construction debris.
I snapped these photos on Lindell Lane, north of Decker Lake (or Walter E. Long, as the kids call it these days), and on Blue Bluff Road, east of the 130 Toll Road. You could fill a dozen railroad cars with the amount of junk I pedaled past.
I wish I could load it all into an 18-wheeler and back it up in front of the home belonging to whoever put it there.
Instead, when I finished my 43-mile ride, I looked up the fines for illegal dumping in Travis County. I’ll call and report the problem on Monday.
Illegal dumping can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount and type of waste, whether it was put there by an individual or a business, and whether the defendant has prior offenses. But dumping between 500 and 1,000 pounds of junk (what I saw) can land you a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. (Read the penalties for all types of dumping violations at https://www.tcsheriff.org/images/departments/docs/enviro_brochure.pdf.)
To report illegal dumping, call 1 (877) 663-8677. You can also report it to the Austin/Travis County Environmental Health Services Division at (512) 978-0300 or x311.
It’s pretty simple. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t drop your junk on the roadside.