Brevard Commercial Properties Tackle Illegal Waste
Ralph Perrone Sr. started doing a bit of detective work and what is like diving into dumpsters to find out who put their trash in the big bins outside of his commercial properties.
It could be a receipt with someone’s name, a cardboard box with a packaging label with a mailing address, a building material corresponding to a project in progress at a nearby property. .
He does more than just fill his dumpsters. It’s illegal, and it costs Perrone money.
So he enlisted the help of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office to tackle illegal landfills, including increasing law enforcement awareness of the problem and the illegality of putting garbage in someone else’s commercial dumpster. State Attorney Phil Archer has said he will prosecute such cases.
Perrone said when he tracks down suspected offenders and follows up with a visit or call, most had no idea what they were doing was illegal.
But he is. Illegal dumping can expose violators to third degree felony charges – if caught.
Regardless of that, Waste Management Inc. charges commercial property owners an additional fee it calls an “overrun fee” if their dumpsters are overflowing, which means the garbage is on the edge of the dumpster. or if the garbage is piled up next to the dumpster.
And Perrone says he’s been nailed to the tune of $ 100 to $ 200 a month for the overflowing dumpsters that are the result of other people’s garbage dumped at his properties on Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral, Cocoa. and Rockledge.
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“When a business throws its waste in your dumpster in order to save money and avoid paying for the proper disposal of that waste, it is committing third degree felony,” Archer said in a letter to Perrone. “It doesn’t matter how much garbage, because any amount for commercial purposes is a crime.”
Perrone said he has no problem with the rules – but he does have a problem with people dumping their garbage illegally.
âWe all have a big problem with illegal dumping in our front loaders – which we are responsible for,â Perrone said. âContractors, lawn care services, tree care services, residential neighbors in the area, commercial businesses in the area that do not have a dumpster service or have too small a Dumpsters continue to illegally place their trash and debris in the front-loading dumpsters of other businesses and owners. “
He said anything sticking out of the rim or the lid not closing could cost the homeowner.
âWaste Management drivers take pictures and you get extra on your next bill,â he said.
Perrone said that on a recent occasion he found palm logs inside one of his dumpsters. On another occasion he found concrete. In either case, Waste Management did not empty the dumpsters until the material was removed, and Perrone was altered for an additional fee to have the garbage truck return for an unscheduled pickup, a- he declared.
At another location, Perrone and her staff caught employees of a nearby business throwing garbage into a dumpster belonging to Perrone Properties.
“Employee said” Owner provided dumpster is always full so we are using your dumpster.
Perrone cared. He decided to call the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for help. Perrone said the manager of the nearby business was visited by two sheriff’s deputies, who explained the illegality of what the business was doing.
Perrone has attached yellow signs with red letters to the dumpsters at his commercial properties, warning people that it is illegal to put garbage in the dumpsters if they are not tenants of the shopping complex. He also installs a surveillance camera pointed at dumpsters to catch offenders.
Security footage last week captured someone putting an old mattress in one of Perrone’s dumpsters.
And, at another place that has a locked dumpster, someone threw some old chairs and other garbage next to the dumpster.
Keep it “CLEAN” to Brevard
Amy Boyson, community affairs manager for Waste Management Inc. of Florida, said it was nothing new for her company to enforce its rules regarding overflowing commercial dumpsters.
âCustomers have to take some responsibility for their container,â Boyson said. âIt’s just a way to keep our community clean,â with trash that doesn’t blow around the neighborhood or unsightly mounds of trash bags overflowing dumpsters.
Boyson said a waste management program he calls CLEAN (an acronym for community waste environmental protection awareness notice) addresses this problem. The program is in effect locally at unincorporated Brevard, as well as at Cocoa Beach, Indian Harbor Brach, Melbourne, Satellite Beach and West Melbourne, under waste management contracts with these jurisdictions. The program is also added to Cocoa and Indialantic, she said.
The language of the contract that allows overage charges varies slightly in each community. The language on the contract in Unincorporated Brevard County, for example, has waste parameters being “12 inches or more above the container” or “solid waste placed on the ground” as triggering the excess load.
Boyson said Waste Management drivers use an on-board computer to take a digital photo of overflowing or lying waste on the ground.
In a letter to Waste Management business customers found in violation, the company states: âOverfilled containers are unsightly and create an attractive environment for unwanted creatures. The clutter in your waste area can give your customers a bad impression of your business. “
Boyson said customers have several options if their trash cans are overflowing, including getting a larger dumpster; add recycling containers; schedule more pickups per week; or have a special “locking bar” installed on the dumpster that gives access only to tenants and the waste hauler.
“The purpose of a fee is to focus customers’ attention on the ‘right size’ of their service to meet their needs,” Boyson said.
Archer said he wanted to let the public know his office would prosecute any illegal dumping in trash cans – as it has done in seven felony cases and seven misdemeanors locally since 2017.
In cases of non-commercial dumping, there are various provisions in state law. Depending on the volume of waste involved, it could be a third-degree felony, a first-degree misdemeanor, or a non-criminal offense with a civil penalty, Archer said.
But, in the case of commercial dumping, it is still a third degree crime.
Archer said his office would work with local law enforcement authorities who have questions about the details of the waste law or the sufficiency of a particular investigation.
But Archer added that he would prefer violators to know their actions were illegal and that they would not do it in the first place.
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