Increased Penalties Legislation Signed to Prevent Illegal Dumping in Our Parks
New Law Allows for Up to One-Year Imprisonment, Increased Fines for Violating Suffolk County’s Anti-Dumping Laws
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today signed legislation sponsored by Legislators Kara Hahn and Sarah Anker aimed at deterring illegal dumping at County parks that includes tougher penalties for illegal dumping of hazardous materials, waste and debris on County property. The new law allows for imprisonment of up to one year for each offense as well as increased fines of up to $10,000 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations convicted for illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping is a crime and we will hold those accountable to the fullest extent of the law for engaging in activities that undermine our parks,” said County Executive Bellone. “This legislation sends a clear message that we will use every means at our disposal to deter this egregious behavior and do what is necessary to protect our most precious natural resources.”
The County Executive was joined by Legislators Kara Hahn and Sarah Anker and Suffolk County Police Department Commissioner Timothy D. Sini at West Hills County Park in Melville, which was the scene of an illegal dumping incident that occurred in August 2016.
The newly signed law creates a separate penalty structure for dumping construction waste, hazardous materials and hazardous waste and makes illegal dumping punishable as an unclassified misdemeanor. In addition, it increases individual fines from a maximum of up to $10,000 and corporate fines from $5,000 to $15,000 for dumping material other materials other than construction or demolition debris, hazardous materials or hazardous waste.
“Our message is clear. If you dump in Suffolk County, we will find you, we will come for you and we will hold you accountable,” said Police Commissioner Sini.
“The illegal dumping within our parks has driven by greed; greed by both individuals and corporations that think solely of the short-term benefit of skirting disposal fees rather than the long term health of our environment,” said Legislator Hahn. “By raising the stakes of getting caught through higher penalties and possible jail time for those found guilty, we exponentially reduce the Return on Investment for dumping.”
“Illegal dumping in our parks affects our environment, our quality of life, and our safety. Illegal dumping may contain toxic chemicals that can seep into our groundwater and negatively affect our health,” said Legislator Anker. “It is important that we do everything in our power to prevent these activities from occurring and implementing this legislation is a step in the right direction. As a cosponsor, I hope this legislation will deter illegal dumping activities in our county parks and help keep our parks beautiful and safe for all residents to enjoy.”
The bill signing highlights the County’s ongoing initiative to protect its 48,000 acres in preserved parkland throughout Suffolk County and takes place in the aftermath of debris being located in various Long Island public parks, including West Hills County Park in August 2016.