Blanco County News
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Don't Dump It
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 • Posted September 30, 2008 10:00 PM

If you dug a hole as far as you could go, what would your find ? If you answered water, you are correct. Underground, there is lots of fresh water. We need to take care of it, to keep it clean for all living things. How do you take care of something underground ? Simple, just make sure nothing harmful is spilled on the ground that will soak down into the water.

Most of the water in the world isn't drinkable. The oceans cover two-thirds of the earth, but ocean water is salty so no one can drink it. There is alot of water in the polar ice caps, but we can't just melt a part of our world. What is left is water in lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. More than half of the people in America get their water from groundwater. In fact, 90% use groundwater.

It is very easy to pollute groundwater. Dumping common things on the ground can do it, because the earth is like a sponge and soaks up everything. Common polluting things are paint or motor oil. One gallon of paint or one quart of oil will pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. One gallon of gasoline spilled will pollute 750,000 gallons of water. The next big polluter is poison to kill bugs.

Be careful about what you spill on the Earth. Make sure lids are on tight. Don't throw toxic materials in the garbage. Save for " Toxic Waste Collection" days. In Blanco County, you can call the County Commission for collection dates. Oh, in the state of Texas dumping is illegal.

Dumping old tires, household trash or motor oil in a ditch or empty lot is a crime! In fact, thanks to the Texas State Legislature, plain old illegal dumping is punishable by fines up to $10,000 and jail time up to 2 years, depending on the circumstances. And that's just solid waste or litter!

If what's dumped is hazardous or medical waste or if someone is hurt or injured in the process, the penalties increase fast up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and years in the penitentiary. But that's not all, additional criminal charges could apply.

The Texas State Legislature has given your Sheriff, Police Department and County Prosecutor all the laws they need to get the job done. Two of the criminal laws that approach dumping from the perspective of maintaining the health of the community are Chapters 341 and 343 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The rest of the laws go after the criminal act of dumping, transporting to an unregistered site and operating an unregistered dump. Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 365 covers the illegal dumping criminal act, but this isn't all Chapter 7 Texas Water Code is environmental laws. Chapter 7.176 sets a five year penalty for dumping of waste motor oil anywhere including dumping for " good ideas" such as dust suppression, killing weeds, and for killing fire ants.

Laws have been made to protect " Our TEXAS", now it is up to us. Education for all of us including police who enforce these laws, elected officials who fund and manage law enforcement and the prosecutor who will sentence violators. If everyone does their part, there will be clean, healthy water for our community. Keep Blanco Cleaner, Healthier and Safer, Don't Dump!

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