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Cracking down on illegal dumping
New city ordinance sets stiff penalties for compost site violations
compost site dumping
A resident utilizes the Great Bend compost site properly Tuesday afternoon. Because of abuses at the facility, the City Council Monday night approved an ordinance more strictly enforcing the rules. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Due to ongoing abuses at the City of Great Bend’s compost site, the City Council Monday night adopted an ordinance cracking down on the illegal dumping at the facility. It is located at 97 SW 6 Ave. (just south of Railroad Avenue and west of Washington).

The Department of Public Works has been experiencing growing problems with the dumping of trash, tires, construction debris and other items, City Attorney Bob Suelter said, noting Assistant Public Works Director Jason Cauley reports the expenses the city is experiencing are getting larger. They have even found deer carcasses.

“People are using it as a trash dump,” Suelter said. Existing security cameras at the front of the site helped at first, but are losing their effectiveness as violators find ways to avoid them.

Suelter, Cauley and Great Bend Police Department Lt. Jason Settle have met to discuss the problem. Together, they helped draft the new ordinance.

“The only things allowed are tree limbs, trees and yard waste,” Suelter said. “Anything else is illegal.”

Now, they hope to identify violators via surveillance or by reports from other site users and stop the abuser before he or she leaves. If not, they want to be able to follow up with the individual later.

In the past, violations required the individual to merely remove the illegal items. That will no longer be the case and violators will be prosecuted, Suelter said.

This ordinance imposes specific penalties for persons dumping items that are not permitted. Violators will now receive a citation and a date in municipal court, he said, adding penalties include up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $2,500 fine.

Additional signage will be installed warning of the changes, Suelter said. “It will be well signed.”

And, as the Public Works budget allows, more cameras will be installed.

“This is an amazing asset for our community,” Councilman Barry Bowers said, adding it is a shame to see it abused. 

The site is open 24 hours a day. For questions call 620-793-4150.

compost site sign
This sign at the Great Bend compost site outlines the rules for using the facility. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune