Runoff from landfills can contaminate groundwater and wells, according to the county.
Last week’s cleanup cost EBMUD $77,000, and since July 2021, the public facilities district has spent more than $280,000 removing the dump.
Rodriguez said people and businesses dispose of mattresses, diapers and anything else you might find at a landfill at these locations.
Joanne Marie Licasata, program coordinator for the Contra Costa County Illegal Dumping Initiative, said other waste, such as electronics, can leach toxic substances into the environment.
“Illegal dumping is a big problem,” Likasata said, occurring in rural, suburban and urban areas of the county.
To address this problem, county authorities created an illegal dumping initiative coordinated among five county departments, including the Sheriff’s Office, Environmental Health, District Attorney’s Office, Public Works, and Conservation and Development.
EBMUD officials aren’t sure why dumping increased during the pandemic. Rodriguez said that each time workers clean up a site, they have to clean up another site.
Rodriguez said the rubbish, partly on steep embankments, is dangerous for cleaning crews and expensive to remove.
Likasata said it costs eight times more to clean up the dump than it costs residents to properly dispose of the waste.
Before Contra Costa County began its illegal dumping efforts, it was spending $1.8 million a year to address the problem. Since then, that amount has increased each year through county reserve funds, state funds, the county’s Measure X sales tax, and Caltrans grants.