New law would include restitution for victims of illegal dumping
Money would be taken from the pocket of the offenders and given to the victims in cases of illegal dumping if King County enacts a proposed law.
County Councilman Reagan Dunn has introduced the legislation he said would strengthen King County’s current laws while holding violators financially responsible for any damage they cause.
If the council approves the proposed ordinance, anyone convicted of illegal dumping will be charged a $100 fine. In addition, violators will pay a restitution of twice the cost of cleanup or $100 per cubic foot, whichever is greater. Half of the money collected from the restitution fee would go to the landowner who was victimized by the illegal dumping.
The ordinance would also give county agencies the ability to enforce illegal dumping laws. Previously, all incidents had to go through the standard law enforcement process, which caused most cases to be dropped or not pursued, according to Dunn.
He said the county has hundreds of maintenance workers and other employees could help enforce the law.
The last two years, illegal dumping reports countywide numbered in the hundreds. However, actual numbers may be much higher due to the low percentage of sites actually reported, Dunn speculated.
“Illegal dumping occurs all over unincorporated King County and especially in the rural areas of my district,” said Dunn, who lives in Maple Valley and represents a district that also includes Covington and Black Diamond. “As a resident of (a rural area), I see the evidence of illegal dumping every day. This law will make people think twice before they dump garbage on our roads or property.”
Illegal dumping sites can attract rats and become a breeding ground for disease, officials said.