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You may have to pay to clean up 17 barrels of chemicals illegally dumped in east Houston

Deputies said someone saw a big rig white dually truck with a trailer dump the barrels and totes on Monday afternoon.

HOUSTON — Harris County Precinct 1 deputies are investigating a "large-scale" illegal dumping case in east Houston.

Deputies said someone spotted a big rig white dually truck with a trailer dump 17 barrels and totes on Monday afternoon, some of which contained a mixture of paint and concrete sealant.

Deputies said the chemicals were too dangerous to touch, but not to those living or working near the location.

"I guess everybody knows this is where you bring it," said Elizabeth Hudnall, who lives at the end of the dead-end street. "They don’t care. It’s just a dead-end street to them. We live here."

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She was also concerned for the roughly 50 horses she boards and cares for at her home.

The land where the barrels were dumped belongs to Harris County as a flood control area. The Precinct 1 Constable's Office said this area is a "trouble area." All along Garrett Road, right under signs that read "no illegal dumping," are tires, mattresses, buckets of paint and more trash.

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"This is a problem across Harris County that we’re working every day to address," said Kevin Quinn, director of communications for the Constable's Office. "Just because it doesn’t happen in your neighborhood today doesn’t mean it might not tomorrow, and that’s why we need the public’s help. We need the public to be our eyes and ears whenever they see someone dumping illegally."

The Constable's Office has installed 125 cameras all over Harris County in trouble spots to catch people breaking the law. Deputies with the Environmental Crimes Unit for Precinct 1 said they get at least three calls of illegal dumping every day.

Contracting a crew to clean up the mess can cost thousands of dollars each time: money taxpayers ultimately must pay, no matter where in the county it happens. Deputies said the clean-up on Tuesday could cost roughly $20,000.

"It is our air. It is our water. We all breathe and drink the same air and water, and so it is incumbent upon our community to help us stop these crimes," Quinn said.

The constable's office wants the driver to come speak to them because they may charge that person with multiple felonies.

If you spot any illegal dumping, you can report the crime by calling (832) 927-1567.


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