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Hidalgo Co. Resident Concerned with Illegal Dumpsite after Fire

3 years 5 months 1 week ago Thursday, March 02 2017 Mar 2, 2017 March 02, 2017 6:09 PM March 02, 2017 in News

WESLACO - A Hidalgo County homeowner said a ditch full of trash is causing a safety hazard and potential flooding problems. He said illegal dumping is to blame.

Weslaco resident Leo Ybarra captured video of a blaze near a canal several weeks ago. The video shows tires, mattresses and construction debris on fire.

“It just full on caught raging fire out there,” he said. “I kind of thought about what the fire was and I said, ‘Well, that’s where the people were dumping the garbage, illegal dumping.”

Ybarra asked not to be shown on camera. He said he called the county to report the dumpsite.

“I’ve been telling the county that there was some illegal dumping going on out there and they need to do something about it,” he said. “But, no one really wanted to pay attention to it, and now the fire started. Somebody has to put attention to this.”

The Hidalgo County Constable Precinct 1 and Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said the fire made them focus their attention on the area and initiate an investigation. They believe someone set the area ablaze.

“(The) dumpsite is very, very hidden. If people reported it, they probably reported to the wrong agency,” Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Chief Deputy Joe Espinosa said.

Espinosa informed multiple agencies respond to an illegal dumping report. However, he said many people don’t want to leave personal information making it difficult to follow up on the case.

He said it’s a reason why constables started using cameras to help catch lawbreakers.

“The camera catches you. We get notified immediately,” he said.

Espinosa said the trash can cause safety hazards.

“This is going to clog up the waterways wherever the water is supposed to go. I mean, it’s just going to back it up,” he said.

We found out the site belongs to Hidalgo and Cameron County Irrigation District No. 9. They told us off-camera they are working with Hidalgo County Precinct 1 to clean up the mess.

“I’m reporting it. I’m a citizen here… If we’re paying – and it has nothing to do with money issues, but when you’re calling the sheriff – we’re paying taxes. It needs to get done,” Ybarra said.

The Weslaco resident said he doesn’t want to make any more calls about the dangers of the dumpsite.

The Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 9 said it plans to start the cleanup process by Saturday. They also want to add more cables to block access ways into the canal.

Espinoza added the closest legal dumpsite is only 1 mile and a half from the spot.

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