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In the News

Mess with Central Texas? Not on RETF’s watch

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Tattered couches, chairs and mattresses thrown down a ravine? Old tires sitting in a waterway? Toxic chemicals and piles of garbage stashed just off a park trail? No, thank you!

Incidents of illegal dumping are a nightmare for neighborhoods — including people, pets, wildlife and the environment — but the Capital Area Regional Environmental Task Force is helping communities fight back.

The multijurisdictional collaboration of 12 government agencies in Central Texas was initiated in May 1996 through a memorandum of agreement. It provides education opportunities, an illegal dumping reporting hotline, environmental sampling and environmental enforcement support to member governments and the State of Texas.

Considered the state's premier formal environmental task force created to address issues regionally, the RETF includes both law and code enforcement officers who share tools and leverage resources to tackle illegal dumping and other environmental crimes. It's primarily funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the Regional Solid Waste Grants Program and has annually received grant funding from the CAPCOG Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

RETFIllegalDumpingSign&CutlineIn addition to assisting one another on investigations and pending casework, RETF members meet quarterly to discuss trends, target areas for outreach and education and learn about new and pending legislation. The task force may also hear expert testimony while sharing insight and experiences.

The RETF provides training courses for continuing education credits, conducting two basic and one intermediate environmental law training class per year. Since 2008, more than 550 officers from more than 50 different Texas governmental entities have received training through these important sessions.

The task force also has posted more than 500 no-dumping signs in the CAPCOG region, displaying a toll-free number to report illegal dumping. The hotline receives an average of 120 calls per year. Callers may remain anonymous, and each call is investigated by a licensed law enforcement officer who may collect environmental samples, facilitate site cleanup, pursue enforcement against violators and seek restitution for environmental damages.

Depending on the type of misdemeanor or felony violation, punishment can include costly fines and significant jail time.

Help stop illegal dumping by getting involved. Call the illegal dumping hotline at 1-877-NO-DUMPS to report violations, and save the date - more details to come - for the RETF’s Dec. 12 Basic Environmental Law training.

> Learn more about the RETF 
> Report illegal dumping using the online form

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