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South Central Solid Waste Authority News

Posted on: October 21, 2022

Partnerships Critical to Address Illegal Dumping

SCSWA Illegal Dumping

Caption: A sad sight to see in our beautiful desert. SCSWA is working with Dona Ana County and the Bureau of Land Management to fight illegal dumping – and you can too!

A local illegal dumping partnership could be the model for statewide initiatives. The Doña Ana County Illegal Dumping Partnership (IDP) is a multi-agency task force founded to help combat illegal dumping throughout Doña Ana County (DAC). Committed to increasing public health and safety and keeping our desert beautiful, IDP is a concept that might work its way up to northern New Mexico.

Patrick Peck, director of South Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA), was asked to present information about IDP to the state’s legislative land-grant subcommittee in September. “After my presentation, there was a panel discussion on adopting a similar model and on other solid waste management issues in general,” said Peck.

As SCSWA covers 10 percent of the state’s population, Peck admits illegal dumping in rural areas is entirely different than in urban communities. “In urban areas, it is simply about illegal use of commercial dumpsters,” he said. “In rural areas, it’s about the public disposal of waste on open land. The desert is convenient, and residents might feel like they lack facility access to dispose of material properly. And, they want to avoid paying for it.”

However, creating a multi-agency partnership can pool limited resources to develop a program combatting illegal dumping. IDP was created in 2011 between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), SCSWA, and DAC. Each member could pledge different resources: BLM helped with labor, funding, and enforcement; DAC helped with codes, mapping, community groups, and political support; and SCSWA helped with discounted tipping fees, hauling, and equipment.

“Labor is the biggest obstacle, which is why you want residents, volunteers, and civic groups, but also local businesses, involved,” he said. SCSWA offers a 50% reduction in tipping fees for IDP activities.

Between 2011 and 2021, the IDP cleaned up over 3,873,000 pounds of trash in Dona Ana County. In 2022 so far, it’s been 151,140 pounds. “Illegal dumping is a statewide issue,” said Peck. “Sharing resources, ideas, and successes only strengthens the state and makes illegal dumping harder.”

South Central Solid Waste Authority manages solid waste and recyclables for residents and businesses throughout Doña Ana County. Contact SCSWA at (575) 528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net

By: Cassie McClure

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