Illegal dumping on JBLM comes at a cost

Pamela Sleezer
Story by Pamela Sleezer
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Illegal dumping at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is costly and dangerous for the environment. Illegal dumping can range from people depositing their household trash into the dumpsters on base to people leaving trash and furniture in vacant areas.

“The Army uses Soldier labor and spends around a million dollars a year to clean up dumpsites across the installation,” Kyle Greer, JBLM Solid Waste program manager said. “That’s factoring the labor, the costs of dump trucks, what it costs to dispose of that waste properly, and even on occasion, hazmat teams. Plus, you know, the time. Where Soldiers should be training or have the time to train, they lose an entire week they’re here to picking up litter or trash.”

Greer also commented on how illegal dumping impacts the environment. JBLM training areas contain some of the last-remaining prairie habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Out of all the glacial outwash prairie that previously existed, there is only 5 percent remaining. Of that, JBLM is home to about 95 percent. Illegal dumping on the training areas further threatens this habitat.

Instead of illegally dumping on base, transfer stations are available for waste depositing. Residents with a Thurston County address can take a truck load of trash to a Waste and Recovery Center to be disposed of for $18. For more information about the Waste and Recovery Centers in Thurston County, visit https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/pw/sw-grhome/Pages/sw-Garbage.aspx

Residents of Pierce County may bring up to 400 pounds of garbage to a transfer station for $33.29. To learn more about the transfer stations in Pierce County, visit https://www.piercecountywa.gov/1541/Transfer-Stations

Another option is to donate unwanted furniture, appliances or clothing that is still in good condition to the Lewis North or McChord Field thrift stores or sell the items online in marketplace or “Buy Nothing” groups. These options allow the items to be further used by new owners rather than ending up in a landfill, according to Greer.

Anyone who witnesses illegal dumping or finds dumpsites on JBLM is encouraged to call Military Police at 253-967-3107.
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