RUBBISH behaviour forced Wagga City Council to spend upwards of $200,000 to clean-up the mess of illegal dumpers.
The cost to ratepayers last financial year was exactly $218,736 after the council was tipped off to 418 reports of rubbish strewn throughout the city, including bulky household items and other domestic waste.
Wagga council's acting community director Mark Gardiner has warned that residents and businesses alike could face hefty penalties for dumping waste illegally.
A Wagga resident was recently fined $827 for illegally dumping a washing machine and various other domestic waste. But, Mr Gardiner said residents could face fines as much as $250,000 or $1 million for businesses.
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In an effort to deter people from dumping bulky goods, Mr Gardiner said residents could take advantage of the council's once-a-year free hard-waste collection service. He added that there are a number of items that the waste management centre accepts at no cost to the public.
Meanwhile, he said the council will continue its efforts to reduce illegal dumping through its use of anti-dumping signs and regularly monitoring problematic areas.
Mr Gardiner said that, on some occasions, cameras have been placed to monitor hot spots.
He said a successful program that targeted illegal dumping in Kooringal, Tolland and Ashmont also saw a 55 per cent reduction of incidents in the three neighbourhoods after being completed last year.
Wagga PRD Real Estate director Simon Freemantle said that, in his opinion, illegal dumping is not running rife in suburban areas and not deterring people from investing in certain suburbs.
"As far as dumping in suburban areas, a burnt out car here or there is all we are ever going to see," he said. "Too many people can see it and people get caught too easily in suburban areas."
However, Mr Freemantle said illegal dumping in reserves like Willans Hill has reduced the usability of popular attractions in the city.
"People used to be able to go up to the top and look over the town ... but now it is blocked off because of the odd person dumping," he said. "I think the consequences are worse than what the initial issue had been."
Residents can report illegal dumping at any time via ridonline.epa.nsw.gov.au.