Governments' Lighter Side

Diapers dumped in Washington, sanitation worker baffled

A litterbug might drop an occasional cigarette butt or empty soda can, but one offender in Elma, Wash., is dropping something else entirely. 

Over the course of three years, on five separate occasions, someone has dumped tons (actual weight) of dirty diapers at the end of a street in Port Blakely County. All of the diapers, which were dumped behind a concrete gate, were the same brand and stored in the same plastic bags, according to local newspaper The Daily World.

Mort Gould, who works for the County Solid Waste Department, says he has never seen anything like it, and has made it his duty to bust the dirty diaper dumpers. The Daily World reports Gould has spoken with daycares and foster homes to get to the bottom of the mystery.

“It’s interesting because one of the things I learned talking to people at day cares is that the parents supply their own diapers, so you’re going to have several different brands and colors. These were all the same brand,” Gould told The Daily World.

Gould noted that the dumping has gone on longer than a child would typically be in diapers. Wracking his brain, he wondered out loud to the paper, “What do they do with the rest of them? What are they doing with them now?”

Adding to Gould’s frustration, during the most recent event, the culprits were nearly caught. Due to a functionality issue, a camera set up to catch the dumpers was removed. Half a ton of diapers appeared hours later.

“So we just missed them. And it was a nice, clear, sunny day, so we would have gotten some nice, clear pictures of them doing it,” Gould told the paper. “It kind of ruined my whole month.” 

If caught, the dumpers will likely face a gross misdemeanor littering charge, and be fined $250 to $300, according to the paper.

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on Dec 13, 2013

Washington State rated #1 BEST by the 2011 American State Litter Scorecard (presented by the Am. Soc. for Public Admin. National Conference), for having America's cleanest public spaces. (New Scorecard out in March 2014).

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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