The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the dumping of power transformer casings at Wire Mesa near Rockville. Wire Mesa is located along the scenic byway between Rockville and Apple Valley.
Three large and one small power transformer casings were dumped during the summer months of 2010 in a remote area on these BLM-managed lands. The spilled oil from the casings contained very high concentrations of PCBs (polychlorinated byiphenyls), a known cancer-causing agent. The Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the manufacture of PCBs in 1979 under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Items containing PCBs must be disposed of properly.
Dumping on public lands continues to be a problem in the Washington County area, according to Agent Dan Barnes of the BLM. “When the urban environment is so close to public lands, individuals find it easier to dump garbage and waste on those lands rather than taking them to the local land fill. This waste becomes a public nuisance and hazard.” Common problems on BLM lands include dumping of televisions, refrigerators, washers and dryers, and building materials. Many of the items dumped on public lands contain toxic materials and liquids. Many times, people carry these items to public lands, use them for target practice and leave them there.
Another problem is the burning of electrical wire for the copper. Individuals acquire copper electrical wire through legal or illegal means, take it to public lands to burn the insulation off, and then sell it to scrap metal dealers. The burning of the insulation also puts toxins into the air and ground.
The removal and clean up of such dumping should be a concern to all citizens because tax dollars pay for the cleanup if the offender is not located. The transformer casing cleanup costs will exceed $50,000. If citizens see dumping on public lands, they should contact the local BLM office or Sheriff’s office. Anyone with information on the transformer casings should contact Agent Dan Barnes, St. George BLM, 435-688-3332 or Agent Jude Densley, Environmental Protection Agency, 801-524-5174.