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«March 1999 Prepared for: Houston-Galveston Area Council Community and Environmental Planning Department P.O. Box 22777 Houston, Texas 77227-2777 ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

How To Establish And

Operate An Environmental

Enforcement Program

March 1999

Prepared for:

Houston-Galveston Area Council

Community and Environmental Planning Department

P.O. Box 22777

Houston, Texas 77227-2777

(713) 627-3200

Prepared by:

Reed-Stowe & Co., Inc.

5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 310

Austin, Texas 78731

(512) 450-0991


West Environmental Consulting

11 Shallow Pond Place

The Woodlands, Texas 77381

(281) 292-5876 This study was funded through a solid waste management grant provided by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).

TNRCC funding does not necessarily indicate endorsement or support of its findings and recommendations.

Table of Contents Section Page Executive Summary A. Background

B. Benefits for Local Governments that Use the Manual

C. Manual Format

D. Acknowledgements

E. Comments Concerning the Manual

I. Political Buy-In/Planning A. Political Buy-In

B. Planning

C. Synopsis

II. Management Structure A. Management Structure

B. Job Descriptions

C. Synopsis

III. Education

A. Introduction

B. Budget

C. Personnel

D. Audiences

E. Messages

F. Methods

G. Community Action

H. Evaluation

I. Successful Strategies from Case Studies

J. Synopsis

IV. Enforcement and Prosecution

A. Environmental Enforcement Officers

B. Prosecutors

C. Judges/Courts

D. Legal Issues/Training Resources

E. Networking

F. Synopsis

V. Cleanup A. Cleanup Methods

B. Keeping Sites Clean

C. Funding Options

D. Case Studies

E. Synopsis

VI. Program Administration

A. Completion of General Administrative Duties and Tasks

B. Management of Financial Resources

C. Monitoring of Key Operating Activities

D. Review of Overall Program Effectiveness

E. Synopsis


–  –  –

(512) 450-0991 Mr. Dave Yanke is an Assistant Vice President with Reed-Stowe & Co., Inc. Reed-Stowe & Co.

is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Metzler Group. The Metzler Group is a publicly traded holding company on the NASDAQ Exchange. The Metzler Group, on a combined basis, specializes in providing consulting services to water, wastewater, solid waste, gas, electric, telecommunications, and stormwater utilities. The Metzler Group has approximately 1,500 utility consultants nationally and internationally with projected 1999 revenues in excess of $300 million.

Mr. Yanke has been actively involved in Reed-Stowe & Co.’s solid waste practice since joining the firm in February 1991. During that time he has presented papers on such topics as “How Texas Cities Are Managing Their Municipal Solid Waste,” “Full Cost Accounting For Solid Waste Services,” and “Financial Assurance-Are You Ready?” Mr. Yanke developed a full cost accounting workbook for municipal solid waste services for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. In addition, he has conducted numerous cost of service and rate design studies and operations reviews for solid waste, water, and wastewater utilities.

Mr. Yanke has a M.B.A. in finance from Texas A&M University and a B.B.A. in marketing and management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

–  –  –

(281) 292-5876 Ms. Christina West has seven years of experience in recycling and solid waste management for public sector and non-profit organizations. This experience includes local and regional planning;

public education; drop-off center, curbside recycling, and yard waste program management; and contracting for solid waste services. She also has 15 years of experience in public relations, publications, and public education. Ms. West served on the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Solid Waste Task Force that developed H-GAC’s regional solid waste management plan.

Ms. West received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Chicago.


A. Background

In recent years there has been an increased awareness with regard to illegal dumping and the impact it is having upon both rural and urban areas in the State of Texas. As a result, local governments across the State of Texas, as well as throughout the United States have begun to take action to combat illegal dumping.1 During the past few years the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), in conjunction with the 24 Councils of Governments (COGs) in Texas, have encouraged the development of environmental enforcement programs to combat illegal dumping within the cities and counties of Texas. Grant funds have been made available to cities and counties to hire and train environmental enforcement officers. The job of these environmental enforcement officers is to educate the citizens of their community about illegal dumping, as well as to catch and prosecute those people that are illegally dumping solid waste.2 Reed-Stowe & Co., Inc. and West Environmental Consulting (the “authors”) were initially retained in April 1997 by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) to assist in conducting a pilot study to determine the impact of illegal dumping within Montgomery and Wharton Counties. The project team determined the severity of illegal dumping within these two counties, as well as the annual costs being incurred by both of these counties in dealing with illegal dumping. The project team also developed a series of recommendations to reduce the amount of illegal dumping within these counties.

Based on the favorable comments received with regard to the initial study, Reed-Stowe & Co., Inc. and West Environmental Consulting were retained by the H-GAC in July 1998 to develop this manual.3 The purpose of this manual is to provide local governments in the H-GAC region, as well as throughout the State of Texas, with a tool that can be used in establishing and managing effective environmental enforcement programs.

This manual was funded through a solid waste management grant from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, and is consistent with the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s goal of reducing the level of illegal dumping within the region, while enforcing the current state laws that address illegal dumping.4 For purposes of this manual “local governments” is defined as cities, counties, water districts, solid waste districts, etc. that have some type of structured program in place to combat illegal dumping. During the course of the survey (see Appendix C) the authors found that city and county governments were overwhelmingly the “local” governmental bodies responsible for dealing with illegal dumping. However, the authors also found solid waste districts, water districts and non-profit entities that were responsible for combating illegal dumping in their particular region.

To date, individuals in Texas have been arrested and prosecuted for the dumping of such items as:

residential waste, construction and demolition debris (C&D), roofing shingles, tires, white goods, furniture, and hazardous wastes.

There was a strong desire by the TNRCC, H-GAC, as well as other COGs and local governments to have an environmental enforcement manual developed for local governments in Texas.

Resource Responsibility, Solid Waste Management Plan for the H-GAC Region, 1992-2012, February 1994, p.61. 1996 Update, November 1996, p.18.

–  –  –

In addition to the obvious benefits of having a community that is cleaner and safer for all residents, there are additional reasons why a local government will benefit from using this manual

to develop an environmental enforcement program. They are as follows:

• The city or county will be able to better understand the magnitude of illegal dumping within its community.5 As a result, the local government will become more aware of the time, resources, and money which are currently being expended by the city or county in combating illegal dumping, but which until now have been “hidden” within various departmental budgets (enforcement costs, prosecution costs, cleanup costs, etc.).

• The local government will have a program that provides a structured and organized manner in which to address illegal dumping. This will result in a more coordinated effort amongst the various city and/or county departments that are involved in the local government’s environmental enforcement program. It will also provide a centralized location where citizens can call and report illegal dumping activities.

• A structured program will allow the local government to monitor the results of its environmental enforcement program to assist in measuring its success. Items that can be monitored would include: number of arrests, number of convictions, number of illegal dumpsites cleaned-up, amount of fines collected, “avoided” cleanup costs as a savings to the city, etc.

• Finally, an environmental enforcement program which is coordinated with the community’s other solid waste programs (solid waste collection services, recycling, yard waste collection, household hazardous waste collection, etc.) will assist in decreasing the amount of illegal dumping within that community.6 C. Manual Format The manual is structured in such a manner as to provide a separate section for each of the six key elements associated with an effective environmental enforcement program. The elements are

identified as follows:

I. Political Buy-In/Planning II. Management Structure III. Education IV. Enforcement and Prosecution V. Cleanup The term “city,” “municipality,” “county,” or “local government” will be used interchangeably throughout the text of this manual. However, the authors would emphasize that this manual will prove beneficial to all governmental agencies and non-profit organizations (Keep America Beautiful, etc.) that desire to establish an environmental enforcement program.

By educating residents that illegal dumping is wrong, and at the same time educating them as to how to properly dispose of their waste, using the community’s existing solid waste programs, the community will realize a decrease in illegal dumping. The importance of integrating a community’s environmental enforcement program with the community’s other solid waste programs cannot be over-emphasized.

Page 2 VI. Program Management

Each of these elements will be described in detail in the following pages of this manual. The manual will discuss how to address each of these elements so local governments can have effective and successful environmental enforcement programs. To have an effective environmental enforcement program, each of these six elements must be successfully addressed.

Every local government is different, therefore the above elements should be addressed in a manner that meets the unique needs of each particular community. For instance, an environmental enforcement program will most likely have a different focus if it is being implemented for a city vs. a county, or a rural area vs. an urban area. However, the ultimate goal for each community should be the same: coordinating these six elements to stop illegal dumping in the community. The authors emphasize that there is not just “one way” to operate an environmental enforcement program. Based on each local government’s particular situation/needs, different solutions for addressing each of the six elements may be appropriate for different communities. For instance, not all local governments will use the same approach in educating its citizens.

The authors understand that some people reading this manual will already have in place environmental enforcement programs. For those individuals, the authors would encourage them to review the manual merely to make sure that they are thoroughly addressing each of the six elements listed above. To the extent that modifications to their program are required, the manual may be used to assist in providing insight with regard to the development of potential ideas/solutions.

Finally, the authors would mention that while this manual is being developed for H-GAC and the local governments within H-GAC’s planning region, the findings and recommendations within this manual are applicable to all local governments in Texas, as well as in the United States.

D. Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the time and effort expended by the individuals from the cities, counties and various governmental agencies that visited with us during the development of this manual.

Their input was instrumental in shaping the final product. The individuals who assisted in providing input are listed in the Appendices of this manual.7 In addition, the authors would like to thank the following individuals who assisted the authors in conducting a “peer review” of the draft environmental enforcement manual. These individuals are listed below.

–  –  –

City and county officials, Appendix C, Schedule C-1 and C-2; EPA regional offices and state environmental agencies, Appendix D, Schedule D-1 and D-2; other individuals, Appendix F.

–  –  –

E. Comments Concerning The Manual We are confident that this manual will be of benefit to local governments throughout the State of Texas in reducing the amount of waste that is illegally dumped in our state. The authors welcome and encourage any comments or suggestions with regard to the manual. If you have any

questions or comments please contact:

–  –  –

A. Political Buy-In In order to develop an effective environmental enforcement program, it is essential that the local politicians (city council members, county commissioners, etc.) and senior level management (city manager, county judge, etc.) within the local government be 100% committed to the program. It is also important that the citizens and the local government’s employees understand that the elected officials and senior management are 100% behind the program. Support for the program, by the elected officials and senior management, must be

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