COLUMBIA COUNTY – Law enforcement agents with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently arrested Travis Myers, 29, for improperly disposing approximately 200 waste tires on a private property. Myers is charged with violating the Florida Litter Law, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
“Enforcing Florida’s environmental laws is an important part of DEP’s mission,” said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. “Environmental crimes, such as illegal dumping, degrade our quality of life and will not be tolerated. The public health hazard posed by unlawfully dumped waste tires is significant, since they serve as ideal areas in which mosquitoes can breed and threaten nearby neighborhoods and communities as potential carriers of harmful diseases.”
DEP law enforcement received a tip from Columbia County Code Enforcement, in reference to a report of waste tires being dumped on a private property, located on Northwest Combs Terrace in Lake City. An investigation revealed Myers illegally dumped approximately 200 waste tires, weighing an estimated 5,440 pounds. Myers was transported and booked at the Columbia County Jail on March 15, 2010, and was released on $5,000 bond.
Environmental crimes are violations of state or federal environmental laws that could impact public health and the environment, such as illegal dumping or improper disposal of used oil. Signs that an environmental crime has taken place could include corroded, leaking or abandoned waste containers; fish kills; illegal debris dumping in a natural area; or foul smelling or unsightly discharges or visible sheens on the ground or water body.
Illegal solid and hazardous waste disposal is a primary focus of DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement as illegal dumping can adversely affect underlying aquifers, which are the source for more than 90 percent of the state’s drinking water supply.
DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida’s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel from the three operational bureaus patrol state lands; investigate environmental resource crimes; and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that threaten the environment.
To report an environmental crime, wireless customers can dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the State Warning Point by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335). General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during normal business hours. For more information about DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law.