Strict dumping laws mulled after East Kingston trash rash

This week, the Town of Ulster will set a date for a public hearing on what Supervisor James Quigley III said is “the strongest antidumping or illegal dumping law that we can possibly write.”

The supervisor was speaking during a meeting of the Town Board on Thursday, Oct. 3, saying the proposed “Litter and Dumping Control Law” was created in response to “repeated complaints about illegal dumping on First Avenue in the East Kingston hamlet.”

“The Highway Department has been spending a considerable amount of time cleaning up that area,” Quigley said, noting that after a cleanup one week earlier, a local resident forwarded photographs just days later that showed more trash had been deposited there. The supervisor said that he then went to Town Attorney Jason Kovacs to ask for a draft of the proposed legislation. 


The penalties would begin with a maximum fine of $750 or imprisonment for up to 15 days for a first offense, or both. A second offense committed within five years of the first would result in a fine between $1,000-1,500 or a maximum of 30 days in jail, or both. A third offense would yield a fine of between $2,000-$3,000 or a maximum of 45 days in jail, or both.

Quigley said that should the proposed law be enacted, enforcement would likely require the use of closed-circuit cameras as well as diligence by law enforcement patrols.

“We hope that as we move forward with this legislation, that it is put together with an enforcement program that is going to involve the placement of video cameras and recording devices on that section of First Avenue,” Quigley said. “Because even though we have a law on the books to now process, or we’ll have a law on the books to prosecute, we will need the appropriate evidence to convince our judicial system that prosecution is warranted.”

Signs put up in East Kingston to discourage illegal dumping have since been stolen, with the illegal dumping continuing. While the proposed law was drawn as a result of issues in one specific neighborhood, the practice not only of dumping bags of trash but also small acts of littering would be covered. The text covers a wide range of items deemed illegal to dump, and includes not only pedestrians and drivers, but also those in aircraft and boats running afoul of the law.

“No person shall throw, deposit or abandon any litter or foreign matter of any kind whatsoever or cause the same to be done in any fountain, pool, pond, lake, stream, culvert, reservoir or its tributaries or watershed or any body of water in the a park or elsewhere within the town,” reads the proposed law.

“I’m hoping that we move forward on this expeditiously and I look forward to trying to address this issue once and for all, because I know it has been a topic of discussion for the last two years,” Quigley said. “People drive in and throw garbage. So we’re going to really have to put the cameras on. And no, we’re not going to show them where they are.”

A public hearing on the proposed “Litter and Dumping Control Law” was set to be scheduled during a meeting of the Town Board on Thursday, Oct. 17. 

There is one comment

  1. Ellen

    It’s a great idea to have a strong anti-dumping law, but this wording is vague, because of the inclusion of the word “watershed.” The law seems intended to ban any dumping in any kind of WATER. A “watershed” is LAND, and includes all the land that drains into a body of water. The entire town is part of a watershed. As written, the law prohibits dumping in water or on land, anywhere. Maybe that is (or should be) the intent; if so, it should be stated more clearly.

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