Florida Keys

Why is there an old sofa on the road? Because Illegal dumping is way up after storm

Florida Keys canal filled with storm debris months after Hurricane Irma

Big Pine Key residents and county officials try to address the canals on the key filled with debris from Hurricane Irma.
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Big Pine Key residents and county officials try to address the canals on the key filled with debris from Hurricane Irma.

Since Hurricane Irma tossed and turned the Florida Keys two years ago, illegal dumping has been piling up throughout the island chain, county officials say.

Way, way up.

Illegal dumping has increased by 227 tons of debris this fiscal year, the county said this week. That’s 87 percent higher than the year before Irma, 2016.

“The extra disposal cost is paid by Monroe County taxpayers,” said county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood.

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Illegal dumping, such as this collection of trash on the side of a road, has increased since the year before Hurricane Irma. Monroe County

Dumping your stuff — boats, furniture and tree limbs — on vacant county-owned land and off roads is a crime and can in some cases be a felony charge.

“The illegally dumped debris affects our quality of life, wildlife, and marine habitats,” said Cheryl Sullivan, Monroe County’s director of Solid Waste. “It is a growing issue since Hurricane Irma and we need to discourage this type of behavior.”

Tossing residential debris, such as couches and nightstands, on the side of the road for pickup was part of the county’s recovery efforts. But that ended more than a year ago.

“The county is working on curtailing dumping at hot spots, possibly by adding surveillance to the areas,” Livengood said.

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This pile of yard waste is among the tons of illegal dumping that has plagued the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma. Monroe County

Local waste haulers will remove household appliances — beds, dressers, appliances, carpeting, etc. — at no cost to residents, she said.

Local haulers in the Keys include:

  • Key West to 7 Mile Bridge: Waste Management - 305-296-8297
  • Seven Mile Bridge to MM 72.5: Marathon Garbage Service - 305-743-5165
  • Village of Islamorada: Advanced Disposal - 305-853-3433
  • MM 91 to the County Line: Keys Sanitary Services - 305-451-2025
  • Ocean Reef: 305-367-2611

Boats, boat trailers, RVs without motors, campers, and other big items can be disposed at Monroe County’s three transfer stations at a price per ton.

To contact a transfer station regarding pricing, call:

  • Cudjoe Key: 305-745-2513
  • Long Key: 305-664-2263
  • Key Largo: 305-367-4236

Illegal dumping may be reported to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office by calling 305-292-7000. For more information about the issue, call Monroe County Solid Waste at 305-292-4323 or click here.