In the Signal Peak Estates area near Casa Grande — largely rural with open desert all around — some residents have been throwing their trash, construction debris and household garbage onto undeveloped property nearby. For at least the past three years, the garbage and debris has been piling up on neighboring private property. The neighboring private property owner oversees just over 800 acres near Signal Peak Estates.
“The property managers have been wonderful to work with,” said Pinal County Emergency Management Director Lou Miranda. Miranda supervises the environmental investigations unit. “They aren’t causing the problem but have always taken responsibility to clean it up. Recently, an unknown individual used a front-end loader to push dirt and trash up against the fences and onto an easement. It could cost as much as $10,000 for clean-up because there are gas meters, water lines and other infrastructure to work around.”
People may not be aware that it is illegal to dump debris on private property, state land or open desert, Miranda said.
“Our investigators say that this is an ongoing problem.
It appears to be caused by one or more people who are choosing not to subscribe to a trash collection service and are, instead, using the desert as their dumping ground,” Miranda added.
When caught, the individuals doing the dumping can face fines. Miranda is asking neighbors to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity to the Desert Dumping/Illegal Dumping hotline at (520) 866-6400.
The Environmental Investigations unit is part of Emergency Management in Pinal County’s Development Services group. They can enforce administrative codes which can carry fines or penalties. If enough evidence exists to pursue criminal charges, investigators will work with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office for review.
Environmental Investigations has another case near Casa Grande that is headed in that direction, Miranda said. Someone illegally dumped construction debris, boards, wall board and other materials — complete with dangerous rusty nails — on a parcel of state land.
“We are still gathering and documenting our evidence but we sincerely appreciate the County Attorney’s Office for their support,” Miranda said. “Between tips from the general public, witness statements and all the documentation, we are hoping for a successful outcome. Everyone has been very cooperative.”