Grant issued for half-century worth of illegal dumping in Port Costa

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KRON) — A half century-worth of illegally dumped tires have been thrown off the side of reservoir street, landing on Earl Flewellen’s 11-acre piece of land in Port Costa. 

“It’s a lot of trash,” Flewellen said.

And an impossible and potentially costly clean-up to carry out by himself.

“It’s been a burden,” he said. “But with CalRecycle’s help through a reimbursement grant, we were able to fund the clean-up.”

Flewellen bought the land in 2015 and immediately built a fence to deter dumping which helped, but didn’t stop the problem.

“With very convenient slopes around it for dumping from the side of the roads, so a lot of trash has accumulated here over 40 or 50 years,” Flewellen said.

Before and after photos show just how messy the situation became, illustrating how much garbage has been removed in the year since Flewellen was awarded the grant money.

He applied for the grant through the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District.

Resource Conservationist Ben Weise said 110 cubic yards of construction debris, one-and-a-half tons of household waste and 220-thousand pounds overall of illegally dumped trash has been removed.

This week alone, 108 tires were hauled away.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have a clean property here,” Ben Weise of CCRCD said. “I would hope that other farmers and ranchers would hear this message and know that there is help out there. We are here to help get rid of some of this illegal dumping.”

RVs, washers, dryers and all sorts of other trash are routinely found on county road, but if they end up on private property — property owners have to foot the bill.

Fortunately, in Flewellen’s case, the grant money helps fund groups like Oakland-based Civicorps to safely get rid of the trash.

“There’s always going to be a place where you can go and actually dump them legally, not try come and disturb someone’s property,” Jesus Fernandez of Civicorps said.

“A grant process is always a little bit laborious, but its worth it,” Flewellen said.

Ranchers and farmers can apply for the grant three times a year through the conservation district.

Applications are currently being accepted through November.

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