Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598


Date: March 4, 2013

Clean Kitsap Program:
Christopher Piercy, Kitsap County Recycling Coordinator,, 360-337-4898

Kitsap Public Health District Solid Waste Inspectors

No: 2013-015

Keeping Kitsap Clean
County agencies work together to prevent and clean up litter

(Port Orchard) - Take a drive or walk and you’ll probably see roadside litter and illegal dumping. It may be cigarette butts, beverage containers, or fast food wrappers tossed from a car, or mattresses, sofas, appliances, or even harmful chemicals that someone has dumped along the side of the road.

It’s not just a Kitsap County problem. Litter and illegal dumping create an aesthetic problem throughout the country – and the world, for that matter, but they also pose an environmental problem.

Despite years of national, state, and local campaigns to curb the problem, garbage still finds its way onto roadsides, public and private lands, streams, and eventually Puget Sound where it can pollute beaches residents use for shellfish harvesting or waters they swim in. Fluids from abandoned vehicles can even get into well water and cause health concerns.

It’s a big job to clean it up and keep it clean.

Kitsap County Public Works Department’s Solid Waste Division and the Kitsap Public Health District work tirelessly to deter and clean up litter and improperly disposed garbage in the community. The Clean Kitsap Program – a program administered by the County Solid Waste Division – coordinates the cleanup of hundreds of miles of County roadsides every year, along with thousands of pounds of illegally dumped solid waste at parks and public lands. This program is funded through a $1/ton fee built into the solid waste disposal rate at the Olympic View Transfer Station, and grant funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Some highlights from the Clean Kitsap Program in 2012 include:

  • Correctional litter crews cleaned up over 20 tons of litter along more than 1,300 miles of road.

  • County staff cleaned up 367 illegal dump sites, totaling almost 100 tons.

  • County staff assisted in the cleanup of nine properties, totaling 40 tons of waste through the voluntary cleanup assistance program.

  • 171 Adopt-A-Road Volunteers removed more than 3,000 pounds of litter from 264.5 miles of roadway.

  • Residents used the Clean Kitsap sponsored “Tire Roundup” in April to properly dispose of more than 25,000 tires.

  • Residents brought approximately 45 tons of furniture and other household bulky waste to the Kitsap County Furniture Round-Up Day at the Olympic View Transfer Station on June 10.

Important partners in litter clean up are the Sheriff’s Office and Kitsap Public Health District.

“The Corrections Division of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office employs a small work force, the inmate road crew, to provide a monetary savings to the taxpayer in the continuing effort to keep Kitsap County clean,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer.

The 20 tons of garbage picked up by the inmate crew, which filled over 6,000 bags, took more than 7,500 man hours of labor. Using the inmate crew saved the County $158,299.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” says Chris Piercy, Kitsap County’s Recycling Coordinator. “It’s efficient and allows for more coverage than we could do otherwise.” The road crew consists of up to eight specially screened “minimum custody” jail inmates under the immediate direction of a civilian supervisor, with a corrections sergeant overseeing the program management.

The Kitsap County Public Health District has a different focus, conducting investigation and enforcement of illegal dumping and premises complaints. In 2012, the Health District investigated 532 complaints. Of those, 142 were illegal dump sites. Inspectors have the ability to issue civil infractions for violations of the Health District’s Solid Waste Regulations, including illegal dumping. The fine amount is currently $524.00 per violation, per day.

Health District Solid Waste Inspectors work with county residents to reach compliance with the Solid Waste Regulations when violations are identified, at times using Clean Kitsap funds to help facilitate compliance, depending on the circumstances.

So what can you do to help the problem?

The causes of litter and illegal dumping can be surprising. Illegal dumping sometimes happens when a resident hires an acquaintance to haul their waste to the transfer station instead of hiring a qualified, permitted contractor. The Health District advises calling your service provider to discuss removal of waste in excess of your normal collection volume if you subscribe to curbside garbage collection. If a contractor is chosen to conduct a site or garage cleanup, a permitted Site Restoration Hauler can provide waste removal in conjunction with cleanup services.

Whether you choose to use a friend or professional, always be sure to require receipts for proper disposal prior to payment for services. Please visit under “Waste Handling A – Z” for a list of permitted contractors. Letting them know ahead of time that you require this will help deter illegally dumping your material.

Another source of litter is unsecured loads. Be sure to cover and secure your items before heading down the road, including tying down the lids on garbage cans. Vehicles with unsecured loads arriving at County solid waste disposal sites can be assessed a $10 fee to help reduce roadside litter, per Kitsap County Code KCC9.18.010. And State fines for unsecured loads, particularly if they cause bodily harm, can be substantial. Residents can also reduce litter in their neighborhoods by bagging and tying their garbage for curbside pick up, so items don’t spill out when the garbage truck empties it.

What’s next?

In 2013, the Kitsap County Solid Waste Division will seek increased funding from the Department of Ecology to expand the scope of the roadside litter program. An additional $50,000 is expected from the state in the 2013-2015 biennium, and will be put toward doubling the correctional litter crews operated by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office in 2014.

“This is really exciting,” says Piercy. “Our capacity to clean up litter and illegal dumps will likely double due to this additional crew.” However, Piercy goes on to warn these crews should not be a “license to litter” for motorists. He adds, “It’s really too bad we need these crews so badly. Litter prevention is where the real problem lies. Everyone needs to do their part to make sure their garbage ends up where it belongs – in the garbage can.”

Related Resources:

Clean Kitsap Program, the Adopt-A-Road program, and guidance for how to properly secure your load:
Kitsap County Solid Waste Division’s website

Questions or complaints regarding illegal dumping:
Kitsap Public Health District at 360-337-5235

Online Illegal Dumping Complaint Form:


Kitsap 1
(360) 337-5777

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014