Talon News - Good Local News

By Debbie Israel


Dispose of your trash legally


March 31, 2017

Debbie Israel

The site of an illegal dumping with identifiable trash

There are so many ways to dispose of your solid waste in San Juan County and in the city limits. So why do people choose to dump their trash illegally? Well, there could be a lot of "excuses," including the cost of using the compactor stations around the county.

Fact is that the cost of legally disposing of your solid waste is very minimal, and, in the end, costs much less than paying a huge fine after being summoned into court. In San Juan County, if you are caught dumping your trash, or can be identified from the items you dump, you are looking at a fine of $1000, which according to Detective Gary Mauldin (San Juan County Sheriff's Dept.), the judges at the Aztec Magistrate Court are ready and willing to pass on to illegal dumpers. Sometimes, if the mess is cleaned up prior to your court appearance, the fine may be dropped to $500 ... still a hefty price to pay for dumping your trash when there are so many other options. Detective Mauldin and Lt. Kyle Lincoln have documented hundreds of illegal dump sites throughout the county, and said they find all kinds of things ... books, shoes, furniture, TVs, appliances. Some of those things could be recycled, and might even make the person a little bit of money for scrap iron. They also find yard waste, branches, leaves, etc., which they said also shouldn't be dumped in the hills. Those things can become fire hazards or block ditches and arroyos, or get washed into the river.

"We've had people tell us 'last time you just had us clean it up,'" Mauldin said. "They obviously didn't learn the first time." That's why the county has decided to take a more serious approach to the problem.

In Aztec, according to City Code Compliance Officer Bob Carman, there are dumpsters placed strategically, in areas where people have historically dumped. Those trash receptacles, in addition to the ones in the city parks, are free for anyone to use, "We'd rather pay for the use of the dumpsters than pick up after people," Carman said. He also said the city will give you a chance to clean up your trash when you are caught, before they pull you into court.

The City of Aztec also has a place for you to take your trash at the Recycle Center, located near the library. You can recycle and get rid of trash, all at the same time. The Recycle Center in Aztec is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm; Friday and Saturday 9 am - 4 pm; and Sundays from noon until 4.

In the county, you can use any of the compactor stations, most of which are open Thursday - Sunday, 8 am - 6 pm. The cost is $1 per trash bag, or $6 for a pickup bed full of trash. Tires cost and extra $1 fee. Large loads will be direted to the County Landfill.

The San Juan County Landfill is open from 7 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday; and 9 am - 5 pm on weekends. There is no charge for county residents to use the facility, but they don't accept hazardous materials, fluorescent light tubes and ballasts, liquids (salt, borax, lye, caustics/acids), biological and medical waste, empty containers that have held hazardous materials, septic tank or chemical toilet waste, auto bodies, radioactive materials. They can help you find a place to dispose of items that aren't accepted there.


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