Combat illegal dumping with bulky item trash days

September 5, 2017

In March, county officials found a 19-acre site strewn with 147,000 pounds of trash.

Now that site has been cleaned up.

That alone is something of a miracle.

County officials reported this week they had worked out a deal so taxpayers paid less than $2,000 to clear the site.

That is nothing short of phenonemal.

Located near Millville, the site was littered with bags upon bags of trash, contractor debris, appliances, furniture, mattresses and tires – among the worst illegal dumps in Sussex County.

The elderly man who owns the tract lives in Maryland, but county officials worked with his son to get the land cleaned up. Of an $11,200 total cost, county taxpayers paid only $1,650. A man living on the property admitted he had been allowing illegal dumping for about four years; he was fined for operating an illegal dump.

County council has demonstrated it can find illegal sites and clean them up. But this is no time to let up or back down. People who had been using the now-cleaned-up property will no doubt look elsewhere to dispose of trash and debris. Some will find new places to illegally dump their trash.

Once again, we call on county officials to invest in cameras to monitor problem areas and to ramp up fines for people whose trash is found improperly dumped.

Still, at least some – and perhaps many – people would dispose of trash properly if they could do so easily and inexpensively. Sussex should also follow the lead of towns such as Rehoboth and develop a well-publicized schedule to pick up bulky items.

Why not pick up problem stuff before it ends up in roadside ditches?

Trash on our roadways is unacceptable and cannot be ignored; it's an affront to everyone who lives and travels in Sussex County. Making it easier to dispose of unwanted items would be a major step toward replacing long-ingrained attitudes with renewed respect for the natural beauty that surrounds us.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.