Tougher trash laws in Town of Ulster

Earlier this month, Ulster Town officials signed into law new litter and dumping control rules, with penalties for scofflaws including fines and jail time.

Town officials first discussed the proposed law in early October, citing what Supervisor James E. Quigley III at the time said was “repeated complaints about illegal dumping on First Avenue in the East Kingston hamlet.”

Passed during a Town Board meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 5, Local Law No. 5 of 2019, the “Litter and Dumping Law” includes 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.


Signs put up in East Kingston to discourage illegal dumping have been stolen, with the illegal dumping continuing. While the 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 law.

This week, Quigley said it’s likely that much of the illegal dumping is done by man-with-a-van laborers hired by local residents who don’t want to deal with the cost or hassle of getting rid of their outdated furniture or trash. 

“We passed the law and now it’s down to how are we going to enforce the law and how are we going to monitor the areas that had been identified as susceptible to illegal dumping and gathering?” Quigley said. “So we’re gathering the information from the vendors on remote video monitoring, and we’re going to have to have a conversation with the police department to see how it fits into our existing monitoring system.”