Group uses grant money to clean illegal dumpsites

A conservation-minded educational group has cleaned up several "wildcat" or illegal dump sites during the past two years, thanks to an $82,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

"We'll end up cleaning up between 20 and 25 sites," said Elno Roundy, president of the Northwest Arizona Watershed Council.

"We are not done yet, and we have had some real good cooperation from the Dolan Springs community, volunteers who have helped us.

And we have contracted for billboards to try to keep people from dumping."

Roundy said the council has used the funds for the Greater Kingman Wildcat Dump Cleanup Project to recruit volunteers who remove garbage, car batteries, tires, refrigerators, couches, mattresses and other trash dumped in the desert throughout Mohave County.

A crew spent three days cleaning a site off Agua Fria and Teddy Roosevelt roads in Golden Valley, he said.

"We had a work crew from the (county) jail helping us this week, and we rented (a dump truck and front-end loader), and then we hauled (the trash) to the (county) dump," Roundy said.

"We had a good response from Golden Valley, and we are going to do it again next week."

Roundy, a retired range conservationist with the Bureau of Land Management, said Pete Peterson, a Dolan Springs resident who heads the cleanup project, also used the funds to hire a company to prepare an educational video on wildcat dumping.

Officials from the Mohave County Sheriff's and County Attorney's offices took part in the video.

The grant funds will run out in July, and ADEQ did not extend the funding, Roundy said.

"This year they had a lot of competition for the grant money," he said.

"They had more applications than they had money."

He said the grant funding had to be tied projects that protect water quality.