Open Dump Cleanup Program Showing Positive Results

The Division of Waste Management’s Illegal Open Dump Cleanup Program is a great example of the concrete ways the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) improves Kentuckians’ quality of life in efficient and cost effective ways.

This program uses the Kentucky Pride Fund to provide grants to counties to assist in cleaning up their open dumps. Counties are asked to provide 25 percent of the cleanup costs in most cases, either in matching funds or through in-kind services, and to coordinate the projects at a county level. This process allows for local control of each project, while harnessing a large, statewide funding source.

Since 2005 this program has funded the cleanup of 1,661 illegal open dumps at a cost of $10.7 million, which comes out to a bit more than $1,000 per dump. Discounting the first year of the program, during which participation was much lower than following years, Kentucky Pride funded cleanups have comprised over 65 percent of all illegal open dump cleanups across the state.

The chart below shows total dump cleanups in Kentucky since 2005, including those that were not funded by Kentucky Pride. Note that the number of “remaining dumps” shows a clear downward trend, and that the number of “new dumps identified” is also significantly lower in recent years.  

These numbers suggest that as newly discovered historic dumps are being addressed, the total number of existing sites is steadily dropping. The data also suggests that the number of new illegal dumpsites being created each year is declining. In either case, the statistical trend is promising.

“The collection and analysis of good information is critical to all of our programs,” said Tony Hatton, director of the Division of Waste Management. “Our data on illegal open dumping clearly shows that our Kentucky Pride funded cleanups have been successful in helping achieve the cabinet’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.”      

Another interesting statistic is that only about 50 of the Kentucky Pride Fund cleanups since 2005 were conducted at sites that had been previously addressed, meaning that less than 3 percent of dump sites require multiple cleanups.

“Our cabinet strives to meet our goals in the most cost effective way possible,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters. “We expect that as we continue to address illegal open dumps we will continue to see a shift in attitudes that will make open dumping less common and culturally unacceptable, resulting in a cleaner and safer environment and lower total costs for cleaning up sites in Kentucky.”     

As the Division of Waste Management’s Illegal Open Dump Program has matured we have seen many success stories, from the cleanup of small roadside dumps to the remediation of large abandoned sites. Each of these projects represents an improvement to the quality of life in a Kentucky community.

Scott’s Ridge Dumpsite, Marion County, Kentucky

Before Open Dump Program cleanup                       After Open Dump Program cleanup

For more information on the Illegal Open Dump Program contact:
Gary Logsdon, Branch Manager
Recycling and Local Assistance Branch
Kentucky Division of Waste Management
200 Fair Oaks Lane, 2nd floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-564-6716, ext. 4636