AUSTIN (KXAN) — An illegal dumping site in southeast Austin has kept firefighters busy for days.
The dumping site, just off Brandt Road near Interstate 35 and East Slaughter Lane, was first reported Friday, but over the weekend the site reignited again over the weekend.
“You could see the black smoke for miles,” said Chris Barron, Travis County ESD No. 5 fire chief. “With dumping sites we just don’t know what kind of situation we are getting into.”
Barron says there could be chemicals, tires or other harmful materials in these piles of trash.
“It poses a huge threat to not only the firefighters but also the public around those fires because it is putting off all kinds of toxins in the air and stuff we shouldn’t be breathing or touching,” said Barron.
In Williamson County, Constable Paul Leal has been pushing to put a stop to these illegal dumping sites.
“Just from January 1 to now we have had 486,” said Leal.
Leal says no fires have been reported at the sites in Williamson County, but he has concerns with the dry conditions.
“So many of our dumpsites are at low water crossings and bridges and they seem to be the perfect place for someone to throw cigarette butts out,” said Leal.
Many of these sites contain piles of trash in places that are not easily accessible, and with dry conditions, that means the fires could spread fast.
“When we get out on these fires it just takes off,” said Barron.
According to the City’s page on illegal dumping, The City of Austin spends $250,000 per year cleaning property where furniture, tires and junk have been illegally dumped.
You can report an illegal dump site to 311 if you live within the city limits.
For dumping sites outside city limits, people can submit tips to TCSO by calling the tip line at 512-854-1444 or by visiting their online reporting site.