Inmates help cleanup massive illegal dump site in Apple Valley

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A massive illegal dump site in Apple Valley is getting cleaned up at a savings for San Bernardino County. They're doing it with inmates. (KABC)

Looking at 66 acres of property east of the 15 Freeway in Apple Valley, you might think you were at the county dump.

But you're not. All of this stuff -- perhaps 1,000 tons of it -- was dumped here illegally.

"I was blown away to come out here and see so much trash that people have just dumped," Akeshia Otis said.

Otis is one of many people out here, cleaning it all up. So far, they've cleaned up about 60 tons of trash. But for their work, they won't be paid a penny because many of them are inmates. This is part of their sentence.

"Can't complain, better than being in jail locked up," Larry Ott, an inmate, said.

Ott says it's hard work because there's a lot more than just trash out here.

"It looked like a bunch of houses got broken down and pushed in one big old pile," he said.

So how did this stuff get here?

"Owners of the property were allowing people to dump. Those owners sold and left, and this is what the new ones inherited," said San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.

Lovingood says cleanup costs will be 50 percent cheaper by using county inmates.

"We have some folks here who made some mistakes, gives them good exercise, let them go home, and they're paying back the taxpayers and constituents that live here."

"Even through trials, you can come out being a helpful person, and helping the community and your environment to get ahead," Otis said.

The county thinks it's going to take three to four weeks to completely clean the site, but when they're done, the inmates won't be finished just yet. They'll be moving on to other cleanup sites in Adelanto and Lucerne Valley.
Related Topics:
societydumpinginmatesApple ValleySan Bernardino County
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