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The app was released by the county in May

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FARMINGTON — San Juan County residents have a new tool at their disposal to report illegal trash dumping sites on public lands with a new smartphone app.

The Clean Up San Juan app was released for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in May, according to San Juan County Solid Waste Manager Matt Basinger.

It was developed to help the community easily report illegal trash dump sites by allowing residents to upload GPS coordinates and a photo of the site to county officials.

Before the app, county officials had to rely on word of mouth to find the illegal dump sites, and sometimes vague directions to sites.

"Hopefully someone gives us great directions," Basinger said. "It can be difficult. It can be a time killer."

San Juan County Crews have cleaned up about 35 tons of trash at illegal dump sites on public lands since November, according to a San Juan County press release.

Along with keeping the public lands clean, illegal dumping presents a number of issues, including the possible presence of hantavirus, according to Basinger.

Since the app was deployed, the department has cleaned up about 125 sites with about another 100 sites they have been dispatched to or are unable to locate.

Users can include their contact information when submitting reports in the app to be notified when a site is cleaned up, or if more information is needed.

"I believe it's a huge asset for us to have," Basinger said.

Basinger has heard positive feedback from the community regarding the app.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office issued 87 citations for illegal dumping on public lands from July 2017 to July of this year, according to sheriff's office Spokesperson Jayme Harcrow.

A total of 290 citations were issued from July 2011 to July 2017. A citation could lead to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

Illegal dumping could possibly lead to felony charges depending on the amount of trash, Harcrow said.

Basinger urges residents to use one of the 12 trash transfer stations that San Juan County Solid Waste operates. He believes the public lands around the county are amazing.

"They are beautiful. I would not only like to keep them that way but get rid of people's trash," Basinger said.

Information on the app can be found at https://www.sjcounty.net/trash.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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