Buckets dumped on the side of Santa Anita Road in 2021. Photo by Noe Magaña.
Buckets dumped on the side of Santa Anita Road in 2021. Photo by Noe Magaña.

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors increased the fines for illegal dumping in an effort to deter incidents and cover related costs

Kathryn Ramirez, staff analyst with Integrated Waste Management, said in her Aug. 22 presentation to the board that illegal dumping has become an “increasingly large problem in San Benito County that raises significant concerns regarding public health and also our environment.”

The fines for the first, second and third offenses have been raised to $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000, respectively. Ramirez said these are the largest illegal dumping fines in California, and mirror those assessed in San Jose and Palmdale. 

The previous fines were $100, $200 and $500.

The new fines take effect Sept. 22, 30 days after their adoption. 

“I’m hoping that that’ll be a deterrent to people for illegal dumping because I drive the San Juan Grade Road frequently and that’s such an unsightly area,” Supervisor Bea Gonzales said. 

In addition to the increased fines, the county is also posting signs with the current fines, surveillance cameras and increased outreach. Ramirez said the county is looking to pilot the surveillance camera program this fiscal year, which ends in June, at San Juan Grade-Salinas Road.

Supervisor Angela Curro said the county is in the beginning stages of developing an app that enables residents to report illegal dumping on their phones or tablets. 

The supervisors first considered increasing the fines in June and approved the first reading on Aug. 8.

“I believe this is a bold and necessary step, and a message we are sending to the community,” Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki said at the Aug. 8 meeting.

The supervisors also discussed the logistics of enforcement after the fines are adopted. 

Frankie Sanchez with Integrated Waste Management said it could take three to four months to resolve the logistics and bring them to the board for approval.

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Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts...