What to Do When Witnessing Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping and littering are ILLEGAL under Pennsylvania law. However, many residents are uncertain of what to do when they observe this illegal activity. If you observe someone littering or dumping, DO NOT APPROACH THE SUSPECTED DUMPER.
Get details and descriptions of the incident and turn them over to an enforcement agency as soon as possible. Helpful information would be:
- License plate number and description of vehicle involved (such as make, model, year, condition of vehicle)
- Number of persons involved, with descriptions
- Date and time of incident
- Traveling direction if you have witnessed a littering incident
- Type of litter thrown from vehicle
- Location and/or directions to site of an illegal dumping problem
- Ownership of the site, and whether public or private, if known
- Your name and telephone number
If a vehicle is involved, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for trash dropped, thrown, or deposited from the vehicle, regardless of who committed the offense. The vehicle license number may be all that you need to report, however, the more information you provide to an agent the stronger the case will be.
Always start on the local level. Local officials are familiar with properties and residents and should be able to respond quickly. See if any of the following exists where the violation occurred: Local Police; Code Enforcement Officer (local or county); County Solid Waste
Authority; County Health Department.
- PA State Police – 724-832-3288 The State Police will have jurisdiction if the violation takes place on public land or a state road right-of-way, or if the dumping is on public or private land that does not fall under local police jurisdiction.
- PA Department of Environmental Protection – 724-925-5500 – Call if you witness illegal dumping on public or private property. They do not respond to litter complaints.
- PA Fish and Boat Commission – 814-445-8974 – Report littering or dumping of trash that lies on or near surface waters, particularly trout streams.
- PA Game Commission – 724-238-5639 – Report littering or dumping on State Game Lands and on private property that is open to hunting.
- PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry – 724-238-1200– Report littering or dumping in State Forests or State Parks.
Other Sources of Support
Please Note: Neither Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful nor Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling have enforcement authority. They can only recommend an appropriate course of action.
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