Environmental Crimes

Property owners, taxpayers, and local governments in Texas spend millions of dollars each year cleaning up illegal dumps. Illegal dumping threatens our health and safety. Pollutants can seep into rivers and groundwater. Dumps can be a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes.

Battery Dumping


Dumping a lead-acid battery is a criminal offense punishable by up to 1 year of jail time and a fine up to $4,000.

Litter


The Law defines litter as:
  • Decayable waste from a public or private establishment, residence, or restaurant and includes animal and vegetable material from market or storage facility handling or storing produce or food products.
  • Nondecayable solid waste, except ashes, including: combustible material such as paper, rags, cartons, wood, furniture, rubber, plastics, yard trimmings, and leaves or similar materials.
  • Noncombustible solid waste such as glass, crockery, tin or aluminum cans, metal furniture, and similar materials.
  • Discarded or worn out materials and machinery, including motor vehicles, and parts of motor vehicles, tires, aircraft, building or construction materials, appliances, and scrap metal.
Please note: Dumping used motor oil is a felony crime.
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What You Can Do


Law Enforcement needs the help of citizens to put an end to these crimes of illegal dumping. Citizens can take an active role in stopping illegal dumping.
  • Always dispose of litter properly
  • Report illegal dump sites
  • Report license plate numbers of illegal dumpers
  • Report illegal dumping in progress
  • Spread the word to friends and neighbors that illegal dumping is a crime

Penalties for Illegal Dumping


  • A person commits an offense if the person disposes or allows or permits the disposal of litter or other solid waste at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, including a place on or within 300 feet of a public highway, on a right-of-way, on other public or private property, or into inland or coastal water of the state.
  • A person commits an offense if the person receives litter or other solid waste for disposal at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, regardless of whether the litter or other solid waste or the land on which the litter or other solid waste is disposed is owned or controlled by the person.
  • A person commits an offense if the person transports litter or other solid waste to a place that is not an approved solid waste site for disposal at the site.
  • An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor if the litter or solid waste to which the offense applies weigh 5 pounds or less or has a volume of 5 gallons or less.
  • An offense under the section is a Class B misdemeanor if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs more than 5 pounds but less then 500 pounds or has a volume of more than 5 gallons but less than 100 cubic feet.
  • An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if:
    1. The litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs 500 pounds or more but less than 1,000 pounds or has a volume of 100 cubic feet or more but less than 200 cubic feet; or
    2. The litter or solid waste is disposed for a commercial purpose and weighs more then 5 pounds but less then 200 pounds or has a volume of more then 5 gallons but less than 200 cubic feet.
  • An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the litter or solid waste to which the offense applies:
    1. Weighs 1,000 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more;
    2. Is disposed of for a commercial purpose and weighs 200 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more; or
    3. Is contained in a closed barrel or drum.
  • If it is shown on the trial of the defendant for an offense under this section that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, the punishment for the offense is increased to the punishment for the next highest category.
  • On conviction for an offense under this section, the court shall provide to the defendant written notice that a subsequent conviction for an offense under this section may result in the forfeiture under Chapter 59, Code of Criminal Procedure, of the vehicle used by the defendant in committing the offense.
  • The offenses prescribed by this section include the unauthorized disposal of litter or other solid waste in a dumpster or similar receptacle.