Participate with SWACO

The Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio

The Environmental Crimes Task Force (ECTF) is made up of representatives from Franklin County Public Health, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Columbus Division of Refuse.  The unit works together to investigate complaints of littering and illegal dumping. 

The Environmental Crimes hotline (614-871-5322) and website ( provides an opportunity for residents and businesses to report illegal dumping.  Operators at the 24-hour-a-day service will take the information (time of day, make of vehicles, what was littered, etc.) and turn it over to Franklin County Environmental Crimes Task Force.  Those who litter will receive a letter reminding them of the penalties for littering if an officer had seen the incident.  Those accused of illegal dumping could face prosecution.

Littering and the illegal dumping of garbage and tires is a growing problem that presents serious environmental and public health concerns for the residents of Franklin County.  Trash and tire piles present the ideal living and breeding environment for rats, mice and other rodents, ticks, flies and mosquitoes that, in many cases transmit disease. In addition, illegally dumped material presents the risk of physical injury resulting from contact with broken glass, sharp metal, biological and chemical waste.

A Recent Clean up of a dumping site on Stimmel Road:


Many materials that are illegally dumped contain toxic or hazardous substances that can threaten surface or groundwater supplies. Many materials that are illegally dumped contain toxic or hazardous substances that can threaten surface or groundwater supplies. Trash and especially tires that catch fire can cause air pollution that may harm the health of persons exposed to the fumes while also damaging the environment. Decaying garbage and yard waste dumped in residential areas create unpleasant odors and can contribute to the impression that the entire neighborhood is in decline, thus negatively impacting property values. Research has shown that such conditions also lead to higher crime rates.

Open dumps are found along secondary roads, utility right-of-ways, water courses, on abandoned lots, in open fields, near construction sites, and along railroad tracks. Often the property owner is unaware that the dumping is occurring. However, the property owner is ultimately responsible for proper disposal of any solid waste deposited on his/her property.

Community Clean ups

Prior to the clean up, contact the community in which the clean up area is located (city, village or township) to inquire if the community has the ability to pick up bags of litter collected from a clean up. For clean up events located within SWACO's jurisdiction, free bags, vests and gloves can be provided for volunteers.

Adopt-A-Roadway Program

Please consider participating in our Adopt-A-Roadway Program. Commit only a few hours, four times a year, to picking up litter and maintaining an adopted 2 mile stretch of roadway.  With the permission of the of the governmental agency responsible for the roadway, SWACO will provide a sign recognizing the organization responsible for keeping the road litter-free.  This is a great way to honor an individual or group with a sign listing their name(s) as supporters of a litter-free road way!

For more information call: 614-871-5100.