Illegal Delta Dumping

Mountains of Trash Near Isleton

“I do this one-woman and low key. I’m hoping to get a few more people involved, you know, get the community to kind of stand up and say, hey, this is my home. Let’s take care of it. Not waiting for somebody else to do it.” — Connie Kramer

Wendy Burton, left, carries hoses over to a pile of items which can be recycled while Connie Kramer surveys the garbage pile that motivated her to begin this clean up.

It was a mountain located right in the Delta, a hidden mountain of trash. Everyone deplored it, but no one – no one – did much about it. They may have added to it, or just driven by assuming others were at fault. Or thinking they couldn’t do anything because it’s not their responsibility.

Fortunately, someone cared. Not just about this mountain, but about others located throughout the Delta. This is the story of one woman who cares about her community.

At 9am on Wednesday, January 29, there was a chain reaction accident of happenstance. First a problem surfaced and then, BAM BAM BAM, three solutions slammed into it explosively.  

The sun was well up when Connie Kramer, of Isleton, pulled off the road to a secluded area hidden from the road just outside of town. She saw the afore-mentioned mountain and she made it her mission to conquer it. Wearing her old tennis shoes and donning gloves, she dug into the mess.

“I prayed. Yeah. I was like, I’m only one person, Lord, what can I do? You know, if you sit with idle hands, you will suffer for it later. And put off until tomorrow what you can do today… Yeah. Taking on somebody else’s burden and be a help. This is my community,” said  Connie Kramer.

The white paint from a disposed can forms an abstract on the landscape. Paint is considered toxic and should be left at county landfills in special disposal areas.

Sifting through the mounds, individual items came into view. A box with a name and address, possibly taken by a porch pirate. A child’s walker. Old shoes, incongruously, a single high-heeled shoe. A bowling ball. A spilled paint can, and so much more. 

“Not left by the homeless,” is Connie’s assessment. “This is household garbage.  Someone living in the area – most likely Isleton – dumped this.”

Wendy Burton pulled up shortly after Connie, donned gloves and got to work immediately. Bagging and hauling. It’s dirty and difficult work cleaning up someone else’s mess.

Wendy Burton says, “It needs to be done. I’ve just always helped my community whenever there’s a need if I can.” 

Mike Comfort owns fifteen acres near this site. He has had run-ins with people dumping on his property too.

“I have combated that problem since day one and actually had several confrontations with people on our property. ‘You can’t dump on this property,’ I tell them.” 

“Well, we’ve been doing it for years out here, why can’t we do it now?” they ask. 

“Because it’s private property and we’re cleaning it up and we don’t want trash.  You need to go to the landfill,” says Mike Comfort. 

A single high heel shoe that has seen better days is nestled in a mound of garbage.

They tell him, “Oh no – we’re not going to do it.”

Comfort has had to call the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department several times because of confrontations. He has nothing but accolades for Connie and Wendy, and offers to haul the bags of rubbish off and pay dump fees.

His offer may not be needed though.

About thirty minutes after he and the two women left, a Sacramento County vehicle pulled up and a Code Enforcement employee began assessing the situation. According to him someone had called Sacramento 311 (a county helpline). It came to County Supervisor Don Nottoli’s attention and an abatement person was sent to check out the report and the County waste department planned a pick up of the trash. 

A short-term solution to a long-term problem.

“This is the road that comes in and out of town…we don’t want trash.  It needs to go to the landfill. It’s been this way for several years and it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse,” says Mike Comfort.

With people like Connie Kramer, the problem may eventually lesson or disappear. “I do this one-woman and low key. I’m hoping to get a few more people involved, you know, get the community to kind of stand up and say, hey, this is my home. Let’s take care of it. Not waiting for somebody else to do it.” 

A bowling ball is a part of the mountain of trash illegally dumped just outside of Isleton.

ABATEMENT RESOURCES FOR SACRAMENTO SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COMMUNITIES

Your county has a phone number or website or mobile app which you can use to notify them of community problems from abandoned cars and boats to weed abatement and trash. General links below:

Contra Costa – https://seeclickfix.com/contra-costa-county/categories/

Sacramento – https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Information-Technology/311

San Joaquin – https://www.sjgov.org/gorequest/request

Solano – https://seeclickfix.com/solano-county/categories

Yolo – https://seeclickfix.com/yolo-county/categories/

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