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'It's Irresponsible': Harsher Punishments For Illegal Dumping In San Joaquin County

LODI (CBS13) - Jail time for illegal trash dumping in San Joaquin County could be on the horizon for drivers.

The County council is working on a proposal that would create harsher punishments for illegal dumping and trash hauling.

The new rules would be welcomed by Lodi vineyards employee Mason Mayer who says the trash is bad for business.

"People [are] dumping their trash on the side of the road—bed sets and dishwashers. People are pulling their trailers in the back of the field and dumping them everywhere, "says Mason.

However, San Joaquin County counsel is doing something about it.

The Council has tasked the District Attorney and Sheriff's office with writing new rules that would boost punishments for illegal dumping.

"It's unfair and irresponsible for people to think that they can just pick up trash and throw it anywhere they want," says San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.

Rule breakers could soon see heavier fines, have their vehicles impounded, and even face jail time.

Salazar says it starts with catching people in the act.

"It's hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to 12 jurors that this person was responsible for the illegal dumping," says Tori, who explains the district attorney's office and county sheriff's office will start by tracking license plates.

"If we can catch someone dumping and get the license plate it will be a strict liability," says Tori.

This means that whether the owner is driving or not, they will be held responsible.

"Don't let people like that borrow your car I guess," says Mayer.

CBS13 asked Salazar how she would respond to those who might think the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

"You're polluting our most viable resources—our air, our soil, and our water. That is not being a good citizen," says Tori, who explains that they also plan on monitoring any illegal trash hauling companies, warning neighbors to be aware of these fraudulent services.

Tori says the new rules could be in place within the coming weeks.

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