Fresno County targets illegal dumping with new ordinances

Illegal dumping cost the county over $1 million last year, leading the Board of Supervisors to propose more stringent penalties for violators.

Fresno County is cracking down on illegal dumping after already having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars this year to clean up unincorporated parts of the county. 

Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors passed two ordinances to raise penalties for illegal dumping and open a pathway to impounding vehicles used for such acts. 


Driving the news: Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said the county has seen an increase in illegal dumping since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Last year, Fresno County spent over $1 million cleaning up sites. 
  • The county has cleaned around 1,200 sites in Fiscal Year 2023-2024 and has already spent around $600,000 this year. 

The big picture: Currently, illegal dumping is punishable as an infraction, with fines set at $100 for the first citation, $200 for the second and $500 for the third. 

  • The new ordinance establishes three categories of illegal dumping: littering, illegal dumping and major violations. 
  • Littering will remain an infraction under the ordinance, while illegal dumping and major violations will be punishable as a misdemeanor. 
  • Administrative penalties for illegal dumping will be raised to $1,000 per violation, with fees for major violations set at $3,000 per violation. 

Go deeper: Fresno County is also targeting the vehicles used for illegal dumping, passing another ordinance that allows law enforcement to seize and impound a vehicle upon the arrest of the owner if the owner has a prior conviction of the same offense within the last three years. 

What we’re watching: Both ordinances will be read one more time by the board on June 4 before being approved. 

What they’re saying: “I think the theme of today is how important it is for the public to be accountable,” said Supervisor Nathan Magsig. “We have many liberties and freedoms, and if you choose to violate the law, especially when it comes to illegal dumping, it’s going to cost you.” 

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