Soil Dumping

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I'm slowly converting my tiny suburban back area into a garden.
Progress is slowed because of a chronic problem of landscapers dumping unused overburden on it.
I understand why, because our local landfill charges $200 a yard to dump the stuff. (Ask Me How I Know This.)
I shovel and vacuum the dirt up off the clay, but a month later, I'm gifted with another half-a-yard of fill dirt, neatly distributed over the surface and pushed into the crawlspace under an outbuilding.
Every week for the last decade, I've filled my garbage can full of this soil but the amount in the back yard is a constant, not a variable. The next larger trash can would cost me an additional $30 a month, which I don't have to spare.
I have a Freecycle ad offering this clean fill but I have no takers.
How would you solve this problem?
Thanks!
--Winston
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On 8/2/12 7:59 AM, snipped-for-privacy@bigbrother.net wrote:

If you really own the property, the dumping you describe is most likely illegal. You need to identify the source accurately, taking photos or even a video. Then file a police complaint, not only for dumping but also for trespassing. You might also consider a civil lawsuit against the dumper.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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David E. Ross wrote: (...)

Well, you are right, there. :)

I don't understand.
If I give money to a lawyer, how would that limit the amount of extra soil left on my property? I know very little about the law, but I've never seen a lawyer knowingly use a shovel in a moral and honest manner.
You do understand that the three individuals involved all know where I live, yes? The police in my area are busy dealing with murder, home invasions, arson, robbery (serious stuff). As painful as this nuisance is, I'm not interested in being the victim of a crime that the police would find noteworthy.
--Winston
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On 8/2/2012 3:54 PM, snipped-for-privacy@bigbrother.net wrote:

Don't know where you live but there are other authorities besides police. Violation of county codes here can result in a fine by a county inspector for example.
Also here, a small civil suit can be brought before a magistrate without using a lawyer. Years ago I successfully sued the Ford motor company for a few thousand dollars in repairs they wanted me to do.
First you should identify who is doing it and get proof. I'd set up something like a trail camera that functions in low light.
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Frank wrote:
(...)

OK. Thank you.
--Winston
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On 8/2/12 12:54 PM, snipped-for-privacy@bigbrother.net wrote:

Even if the police do nothing, you should still file a criminal complaint. You need a copy of the complaint to sue those who are dumping on your property.
You can sue in small claims court using the copy of the complaint as part of the evidence. You can also hire an attorney and sue for an amount greater than the small claims limit, not only for actual damages (the cost of removing the dumped dirt) but also for your costs (the attorney's fees), for punitive damages, and for exemplary damages.
No, I do not believe in suing at the drop of a hat. In my 70+ years, I have been a plaintiff only once and been sued only once. However, repeated offenses should be punished. If the police will not do anything, a good, solid lawsuit is a great punishment against wrong-doers.
Also, having filed a complaint with the police and having good evidence (e.g., photos, videos) might indeed prompt a criminal prosecution, especially if you are not the only victim.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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David E. Ross wrote:
(...)

Thanks for your insight, David.
--Winston
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snipped-for-privacy@bigbrother.net wrote:

You describe what is clearly a legal problem but you refuse to consider legal remedies. You know who is doing it but won't take any action against them. What are we to make of this? I begin to suspect trolling for entertainment.
This has nothing to do with gardening. Try rec.free.legal.advice or alt.pointless.whining
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:
(...)

These three folks are criminals who have only one reaction to having moral weaknesses pointed out to them. I don't want to be 'reacted against'.

I'm losing all my gardening time recovering from vandalism. Otherwise, my mulching project would be much further along.
--Winston
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Legal problem?
He's complaining that someone left something that costs money on his property. Landscapers don't dump gravel that they have to pay for on random lots.
The story makes no sense.
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:
(...)

Only on those lots with 'unimproved' soil. They figure, apparently that the owner won't be able to tell the difference.

Lots of true things make no sense. :)
--Winston
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Uh no.
A contractor doesn't just find extra soil on his truck. He buys it at a yard. Not where I live anyway. I don't know where you are but I don't think contractors get free soil anywhere. Even if they got free soil it's not free to put it in your yard.

But you're telling a story about a problem you have and claim to want useful answers.
Now you are agreeing that your story doesn't make sense...
Beats me what's going on.
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:

It becomes 'extra' when the job is complete and there is no requirement for the remainder. It is now a very expensive liability. The contractor is not about to load it on his truck and find a safe, legal, moral way to dispose of it if he can merely litter a neighbor's lot with it. It's just faster and cheaper to litter, especially at > $200 a yard to toss it.

Let's do some arithmetic. Half a yard of soil to dispose on a neighbor's unimproved lot:
A quarter hour of labor to break on to the property, wheel the soil in, distribute it evenly: About 5 bucks.
Done properly, it is more expensive. An hour of labor: $20 10 miles of gas: $4 Entrance fee to a proper disposal site: $100
I figure $124 is more than $5 even ignoring the 'opportunity cost' of tying up a laborer to move the soil to the proper site.

Yes. Here are more examples:
* Tell me how to make it *more* expensive to dump this stuff on my lot than to dispose of it properly (without endangering me or my family).
* Tell me who will vacuum this stuff up for free and use it for some noble purpose for the benefit of mankind, monthly.
* Tell me how to cheaply convert this stuff into a valuable commodity that I can sell for huge bucks on eBay. :)

Yes. While you're at it, here are some other true things that make no sense:
* Why are people buying photovoltaics at more than say 4c per peak watt when the buyback period is much longer than the owner's remaining life expectancy?
* Why are people burning diesel to convert corn into alcohol that causes car mileage to decrease?
* Why am I expected to drive my car to do practically *anything*.
* Why are we so focused on politics when there is not a shred of evidence it makes any difference?
There are lots of things like that. :)

Check under your ground cover some time. The castoff chunks of concrete debris are courtesy of your local building contractor. Please thank them for their valuable contribution to your savings. :)
--Winston
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If a contractor buys soil at a yard, they can return any unused soil for refund.
If you show up with some junk from your yard, they are not going to take it.

How very unhelpful.

Burying building materials on a new home site is not done where I live.
Sounds like you're in the SouthWest somewhere. Can't say what your laws or practices are.
Also don't know how to enrich your "soil", but mulch is a cover meant to keep down weeds.
I can assure you there are no building materials buried anywhere on my property. I've been here long enough to know. I've dug just about everywhere on the property in over 30 years.
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:
(...)

The labor to load it on his truck and the time and labor cost to drive it to the yard far exceeds the value of the commodity. 'Better to vandalize and flee. Much cheaper and faster. :)

I wouldn't even try.

:)
It's done here all the time. 'Mostly on older, well - established home sites, though.

Silicon Gulch California. We have laws but our criminals tend to disobey them.

That too.

Congratulations on your great luck!
--Winston
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Are these landscapers you've asked to come and work on your property?

The rest of your post makes no sense to me. Are these your landscapers doing something you don't like or some random landscapers illegally dumping soil on your land?
Or are you just having us on?
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:

The guy I'll call Dale was. He and his team did extensive hardscape work. I supplied him with a requirements sheet that specified that the grade at the finish of the project was to be no higher than the grade at the start of the project. I reinforced this verbally a couple times during the project.
Dale is not a real good listener.
Dale was assisted by a guy I will call Richie, who stared at me and said "I know where to put extra dirt." when I mentioned how disappointed I was that my requirement for an 'existing grade' finish was being ignored.
The third guy who I will call Martin did some work for a neighbor over the back fence this week.
I had my yard all vacuumed up, with nothing but the cracked adobe showing, ready for me to scoop it out and replace with mulch, again.
A couple days after Martin started my neighbor's project, my back yard was under half an inch of powdery gravel once more. I sighed heavily and began shoveling and vacuuming, again.
I find it interesting that these donations coincide with landscaper visits (to neighboring properties) to a high degree.

Both.
No.
I continue to hope that one of my new friends on rec.gardens will be willing to talk about how they:
* Converted dusty gravel into a nutritious mulch :) * Traded dusty gravel to a pal that needed road base for a paver project * Found that the county would visit and pull up clean fill dirt as a donation on a monthly basis * Or anything that would allow me to actually work on my garden without having all my time wasted cleaning up someone else's mess :)
--Winston
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Perhaps he was as mystified as I am about why you wanted cracked adobe instead of soil. But if you didn't want the soil you should not have let them put it down.

A half inch of gravel got over your fence? Did it rain? Are you down hill? If so, put in a barrier (a low wall).
Still have no idea what you are trying to do.

Mulch is not nutritious. It's not meant to be.

Still can't figure out how this stuff is getting in your yard from your description.
--
Dan Espen

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Dan Espen wrote:
(...)

I'm remediating the adobe. I notice that my shovel is more effective in scooping it up for disposal and remediation if there is no gravel on top of it. If I expose the adobe, it tends to dry, which really lowers the humidity in the house, too.
Is the gravel in your area particularly soft? :)

What was I supposed to do, show up with a gun? :)
I did what I could. I told them what I wanted in printed and spoken instructions.
I kept shoveling the overburden out and when the contractor had the temerity to ask for a recommendation, I was very silent on the subject. I'm a very enthusiastic supporter of those few businesspeople that just 'do their jobs' and often offer recommendations.
Not this time.
(...)

A low wall is unlikely to provide much of a barrier when a 6' fence proved ineffective.

I'm trying to 'garden'. My first step is to improve the soil from it's current deplorable state. I have begun removing and disposing of the extra clay that was added by my contractor and I'm slowly digging past the original clay and adding mulch. After I have soil, I hope to learn more here about the kinds of solutions you all have developed to problems I'm likely to encounter.
My local landfill values the overburden so highly that they will accept nothing less than $200 a yard to allow me to dump it on their lot. (It is not exactly gold, Dan.)
(...)

My smiley indicates that I was joshing about the possibility of changing rock into a material likely to provide fertilizer, temperature moderation and soil enrichment.
(I was kidding.)

I don't know either. I suspect the use of shovels, however.
--Winston
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On Thu, 02 Aug 2012 07:59:08 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bigbrother.net

Do you own the land? If so, they're trespassing and you can pursue legal action.
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