By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN - One man’s trash is not another man’s treasure when it comes to unlawfully dumped garbage on public or private land.
That’s exactly what happened only 30 feet from the shores of Dutch Lake in Howard Lake recently.
The trash pile was discovered Oct. 11 by a couple taking a morning walk near Dutch Lake.
The couple notified Greg and Christie Wood of Howard Lake, who are members of the Dutch Lake Association.
This isn’t the first time the Woods or other lake association members have come across such a display, but it is the largest pile yet, according to Christie.
“The Dutch Lake Association works hard to clean up the lake, lakeshore, boat landing, and roads and ditches surrounding the lake,” Christie said. “We have cleared brush and trees to improve accessibility at the landing for the public to come and enjoy our lake. Unfortunately, there is an occasional disrespectful citizen who dumps their trash unlawfully at the boat landing.”
In the past, Christie explained, “We have quietly cleaned up the mess and disposed of it in our own garbage dumpsters. This time we will be reporting the crime to the police.”
What’s more alarming than the large pile of trash itself are the toxic items left only feet from the shoreline such as mercury laden fluorescent light bulbs, electronic items and a computer monitor, all of which contain toxins.
“There are specific procedures to follow for the disposal of those types of items,” Christie said.
Other items in the pile of trash include items such as a rocker/glider, some lawn chairs, children’s toys, a blue lamp, plastic outdoor Christmas decoration caroler, insulation, and more, Christie reported.
The lake association stressed that it would really like to put an end to this type of behavior, and is hoping that someone will recognize items in the pile of trash in order to figure out who dumped it.
“Dutch Lake has a direct outlet to Twelve Mile Creek and out to Waverly lakes, and so on. This toxic dumping has far reaching effects,” Christie said.
To add insult to injury, the dumping took place, “just one week after Howard Lake’s cleanup day, where the trash could have been disposed of properly at little or no charge,” Christy added.
Lake association members have incurred personal expense in the past to dispose of illegally dumped items, but it does try to coordinate efforts during Howard Lake’s cleanup days.
The lake association filed a police report and notified the area DNR officer about the incident.
Anyone found guilty of illegal dumping would likely be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, and/or a $1,000 fine.