The Concrete Bungle


This is another installment in our series of blog posts about illegal dumping cases. Need a backgrounder on our illegal dumping program? We’ve got a blog post about that!

With most of our investigations for illegal dumping—when someone disposes waste or other materials in a place they’re not supposed to, like the storm sewer—we only need to issue a warning or citation once. Contractors and other operators don’t want to be polluting our lakes, causing problems in a neighborhood, or paying a fine. 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for a recent concrete-related mess. Our staffers first got a phone call from the Madison Engineering Department. We work closely with Engineering on all sorts of illegal dumping cases. They had a complaint from a community member about a construction site that released a lot of concrete into the sewer. 

The Engineering team sent out a vactor truck to clean the gutter and the storm sewer. We issued a citation for $313 and told the construction site foreman that they could store concrete in the gutter, provided they use sandbags to contain the waste from running AND the waste had to be cleaned up properly at the end of every workday. 

The construction site leaked concrete again a couple weeks later, but it was very small, and the concrete did not make it to the sewer. The crew cleaned up the site quickly, and we issued a warning.

A few months later, we heard that this construction crew once again was letting concrete waste escape the worksite. This time, 10 or more concrete trucks were washing out improperly, causing an overflow at the washout site. The concrete waste ran down the block and entered the same storm sewer, as it had with the first violation. A silt sock barrier was placed near the washout site (see picture one, above), but a silt sock does not hold back liquid waste. The Engineering team again had to bring a vactor truck to clean the gutter and storm sewer system. Because this was their second violation, we cited them with a second-tier citation of $691.00. 

Ignoring illegal dumping laws is harmful to our environment and expensive, not just for the construction crew, but for all of us as taxpayers too. Illegal dumping is a problem for all of us!

Reporting Concerns or Possible Violations

You can report any possible violations in Dane County to us.

Anyone can report a concern or possible violation. We have the authority to address threats to surface water quality in Madison and Dane County. We’ll ask for some basic details about what happened, like a description of what you saw and when.

Reporting possible violations is easy, either by online form or by phone.

To report a concern in Dane County, fill out an online report or call (608) 266-4821.

In an investigative mood? 

Check out our other blogs in this series:

This content is free for use with credit to Public Health Madison & Dane County .

Was this page helpful to you?