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Town Of Brookhaven Considers Offering Rewards To People Who Help Catch Illegal Dumpers

TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Money talks, and there could soon be financial incentive in one Long Island town to crack down on people leaving trash where they aren't supposed to.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, rewards may soon be offered to help catch environmental crooks.

"You can come in the dark of night, back your truck up and dump this stuff out," Town Of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine said.

CBS2 found construction debris piled on the side of a road in the Town of Brookhaven -- roof shingles, mattresses and old tires all brazenly dumped anywhere, it seems, when no one was looking.

"We need the help of everyone that lives in the town," said Romaine.

It's an all-too-common sight, Romaine said. That's why he's upping the ante to combat the costly and chronic problem.

Fines for dumping will soon be doubled to $2,000, and soon tipsters can cash in, too.

"If you can give us a license plate – the name on a truck that you see dumping stuff like this – and we are capable of going after them, you're going to get half the fine money," he said.

So if you see something, say something, and possibly earn something.

Illegal dumping in parks, at construction sites and in public woodlands has become business as usual for unscrupulous contractors and landscapers to avoid disposal fees.

"It's just greed. People don't want to spend the money that it may cost to get rid of it," Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn said.

Hahn launched a parks watch program and hotline at the county level and said she welcomes a town reward system.

To guard against false reports, tipsters who are eligible for the reward will have to sign an affidavit. False reporting is a felony.

The head of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said tips already come in from the public, but the state needs more resources to go after the dumpers.

"Modernize our tracking system," she suggested.

But Romaine said offering a reward sends a message to would-be dumpers that there will be many more eyes on them, and to the public that reporting what they see can pay off.

Rewards could be up to $1,000.

The Brookhaven town board will vote on the measure Thursday.

To report illegal dumping in Suffolk County parks, you can call 631-854-1423 or email

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