Keicher bill sends roadside trash problem to the dump

The sight of trash blowing off waste-hauling trucks headed to landfills has become an all-too-common sight. Besides the unsightly nature of blowing trash, it has raised safety and environmental concerns for many communities, as well as caused damage to local farmers’ operations and their fields. State Representative Jeff Keicher has spent more than a year working with local officials throughout the 70th House District to increase enforcement of current law and develop new policy proposals to help stop the problem.

On April 18, Keicher’s latest proposal to address the trash problem, House Bill 4848, sailed through the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously and is now headed to the State Senate for consideration.

Keicher stressed the frustration he and community members have had with this issue, “For years, I’ve been frustrated with the trash that’s been windblown from waste haulers going from transfer stations to landfills through our communities. Besides the litter problem, trash blowing off waste trucks is a safety hazard, and it is damaging local farmers’ fields and equipment."

“House Bill 4848 will help us curb the problem by strengthening the current requirement for how waste hauling trucks must cover their loads, as well as holding the companies accountable through an updated violation and fine process.”

Current law places nominal fines on the truck driver for not having their load properly secured and debris flying off. Through Keicher’s legislation, the truck driver is now liable for a minimum $150 fine per violation and it adds fines of $150 per violation for the trucking company that owns the trailer, and it also creates a process for the fines collected to be distributed to local governments to pay for clean-up when necessary.

Speaking about the issue back in December, DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Sullivan, whose department has stepped up enforcement efforts of current law had this to say:

“Trash blowing from garbage haulers is a major problem, particularly for our farmers,” said Sullivan. “Not only are farmers forced to invest extra time and resources to clean up the debris, but the debris, particularly plastics, is damaging their equipment. While our increased enforcement of current law has helped, it’s going to require a change in policy to get this problem under control, and we appreciate the work of Rep. Keicher to help us solve this problem and reduce the harm it’s causing.”

Also speaking about the issue in December was a local farmer and Vice President of the Kane County Farm Bureau, Dale Pitstick, who has expressed similar concerns.

“On a daily basis, I see trash fly off waste trucks as they pass by my fields. It’s very disheartening to see the litter covering the landscape,” said Pitstick. “The trash is getting into our water supply, which is obviously concerning, and many of us have had to till our fields again in the fall to prevent damage to our equipment. The current law simply isn’t doing enough, but hopefully bringing some more awareness to the problem can help make a change.”

Now that HB 4848 has passed through the House unanimously, Keicher is hopeful the legislation will receive a similarly high level of support in the State Senate and quickly be sent to the Governor for his signature. 

Rep. Keicher serves the 70th District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Kane, and McHenry Counties.