New Mexico county using app to battle illegal dumping

New Mexico

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A northwestern New Mexico county is hoping to fight illegal trash dumping with a new mobile app.

San Juan County recently released the Clean Up San Juan app through the Apple App and Google Play stores and is asking residents to use it to report illegal dumping, the Farmington Daily Times reports .

The app allows residents to report illegal trash dump sites by uploading GPS coordinates and photos of sites to county officials. Users can include their contact information when submitting reports in the app to be notified when a site is cleaned up, or if more information is needed.

Before the app, county officials had to rely on word of mouth to find the illegal dump sites, and sometimes vague directions to sites.

“Hopefully someone gives us great directions,” San Juan County Solid Waste Manager Matt Basinger said. “It can be difficult. It can be a time killer.”

Officials say San Juan County crews have cleaned up about 35 tons of trash at illegal dump sites on public lands since November.

So far, Basinger has heard positive feedback from the community regarding the app. “I believe it’s a huge asset for us to have,” Basinger said.

Since the app was deployed, the department has cleaned up about 125 sites with about another 100 sites they have been dispatched to or are unable to locate.

Basinger urged residents to use one of the 12 trash transfer stations that San Juan County Solid Waste operates. He believes the public lands around the county are amazing.

“They are beautiful. I would not only like to keep them that way but get rid of people’s trash,” Basinger said.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office issued 87 citations for illegal dumping on public lands from July 2017 to July of this year, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Jayme Harcrow.

A total of 290 citations were issued from July 2011 to July 2017. A citation could lead to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com

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