Law:Title 5. Sanitation And Environmental Quality. Subtitle B. Solid Waste, Toxic Chemicals, Sewage, Litter, And Water from Chapter 365. Litter (Texas)

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Subtitle B. Solid Waste, Toxic Chemicals, Sewage, Litter, And Water

Contents

Chapter 365. Litter

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  365.001.  Short Title.

This chapter may be cited as the Texas Litter Abatement Act.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.002.  Water Pollution Controlled By Water Code.

The pollution of water in the state is controlled by Chapter 26, Water Code, and other applicable law.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.003.  Litter On Beaches Controlled By Natural Resources Code.

The regulation of litter on public beaches is controlled by Subchapters C and D, Chapter 61, Natural Resources Code.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.004.  Disposal Of Garbage, Refuse, And Sewage In Certain Areas Under Control Of Parks And Wildlife Department.

The Parks and Wildlife Commission may adopt rules to govern the disposal of garbage, refuse, and sewage in state parks, public water in state parks, historic sites, scientific areas, and forts under the control of the Parks and Wildlife Department.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.005.  Venue And Recovery Of Costs.

(a) Venue for the prosecution of a criminal offense under Subchapter B or Section 365.032 or 365.033 or for a suit for injunctive relief under any of those provisions is in the county in which the defendant resides, in the county in which the offense or the violation occurs, or in Travis County.

(b)  If the attorney general or a local government brings a suit for injunctive relief under Subchapter B or Section 365.032 or 365.033, a prevailing party may recover its reasonable attorney fees, court costs, and reasonable investigative costs incurred in relation to the proceeding.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 125, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.



Subchapter B. Certain Actions Prohibited

Section  365.011.  Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1)  "Approved solid waste site" means:

(A)  a solid waste site permitted or registered by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission;

(B)  a solid waste site licensed by a county under Chapter 361; or

(C)  a designated collection area for ultimate disposal at a permitted or licensed municipal solid waste site.

(2)  "Boat" means a vehicle, including a barge, airboat, motorboat, or sailboat, used for transportation on water.

(3)  "Commercial purpose" means the purpose of economic gain.

(4)  "Commercial vehicle" means a vehicle that is operated by a person for a commercial purpose or that is owned by a business or commercial enterprise.

(5)  "Dispose" and "dump" mean to discharge, deposit, inject, spill, leak, or place litter on or into land or water.

(6)  "Litter" means:

(A)  decayable waste from a public or private establishment, residence, or restaurant, including animal and vegetable waste material from a market or storage facility handling or storing produce or other food products, or the handling, preparation, cooking, or consumption of food, but not including sewage, body wastes, or industrial by-products; or

(B)  nondecayable solid waste, except ashes, that consists of:

(i)  combustible waste material, including paper, rags, cartons, wood, excelsior, furniture, rubber, plastics, yard trimmings, leaves, or similar materials;

(ii)  noncombustible waste material, including glass, crockery, tin or aluminum cans, metal furniture, and similar materials that do not burn at ordinary incinerator temperatures of 1800 degrees Fahrenheit or less; and

(iii)  discarded or worn-out manufactured materials and machinery, including motor vehicles and parts of motor vehicles, tires, aircraft, farm implements, building or construction materials, appliances, and scrap metal.

(7)  "Motor vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.201, Transportation Code.

(8)  "Public highway" means the entire width between property lines of a road, street, way, thoroughfare, bridge, public beach, or park in this state, not privately owned or controlled, if any part of the road, street, way, thoroughfare, bridge, public beach, or park:

(A)  is opened to the public for vehicular traffic;

(B)  is used as a public recreational area; or

(C)  is under the state's legislative jurisdiction through its police power.

(9)  "Solid waste" has the meaning assigned by Section 361.003.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 740, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 11.111, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.206, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 286, Sec. 1, eff. May 26, 1997.



Section  365.012.  Illegal Dumping; Criminal Penalties.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person disposes or allows or permits the disposal of litter or other solid waste at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, including a place on or within 300 feet of a public highway, on a right-of-way, on other public or private property, or into inland or coastal water of the state.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person receives litter or other solid waste for disposal at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, regardless of whether the litter or other solid waste or the land on which the litter or other solid waste is disposed is owned or controlled by the person.

(c)  A person commits an offense if the person transports litter or other solid waste to a place that is not an approved solid waste site for disposal at the site.

(d)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs five pounds or less or has a volume of five gallons or less.

(e)  An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs more than five pounds but less than 500 pounds or has a volume of more than five gallons but less than 100 cubic feet.

(f)  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if:

(1)  the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs 500 pounds or more but less than 1,000 pounds or has a volume of 100 cubic feet or more but less than 200 cubic feet; or

(2)  the litter or other solid waste is disposed for a commercial purpose and weighs more than five pounds but less than 200 pounds or has a volume of more than five gallons but less than 200 cubic feet.

(g)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the litter or solid waste to which the offense applies:

(1)  weighs 1,000 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more;

(2)  is disposed of for a commercial purpose and weighs 200 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more; or

(3)  is contained in a closed barrel or drum.

(h)  If it is shown on the trial of the defendant for an offense under this section that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, the punishment for the offense is increased to the punishment for the next highest category.

(i)  On conviction for an offense under this section, the court shall provide to the defendant written notice that a subsequent conviction for an offense under this section may result in the forfeiture under Chapter 59, Code of Criminal Procedure, of the vehicle used by the defendant in committing the offense.

(j)  The offenses prescribed by this section include the unauthorized disposal of litter or other solid waste in a dumpster or similar receptacle.

(k)  This section does not apply to the temporary storage for future disposal of litter or other solid waste by a person on land owned by that person, or by that person's agent. The commission by rule shall regulate temporary storage for future disposal of litter or other solid waste by a person on land owned by the person or the person's agent.

(l)  This section does not apply to an individual's disposal of litter or other solid waste if:

(1)  the litter or waste is generated on land the individual owns;

(2)  the litter or waste is not generated as a result of an activity related to a commercial purpose;

(3)  the disposal occurs on land the individual owns; and

(4)  the disposal is not for a commercial purpose.

(m)  A municipality or county may offer a reward of $50 for reporting a violation of this section that results in a prosecution under this section.

(n)  An offense under this section may be prosecuted without alleging or proving any culpable mental state, unless the offense is a state jail felony.

(o)  For purposes of a prosecution under Subsection (g), a generator creates a rebuttable presumption of lack of culpable mental state if the generator of the solid waste to be disposed of secures, prior to the hauler's receipt of the solid waste, a signed statement from the hauler that the solid waste will be disposed of legally. The statement shall include the hauler's valid Texas driver's license number.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 740, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 828, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 17.01(28), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 286, Sec. 2, eff. May 26, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 995, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.



Section  365.013.  Rules And Standards; Criminal Penalty.

(a) The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission shall adopt rules and standards regarding processing and treating litter disposed in violation of this subchapter.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person violates a rule adopted under this section.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 11.112, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Section  365.014.

  APPLICATION OF

Subchapter

DEFENSES; PRESUMPTIONS. (a) This subchapter does not apply to farmers

(1)  in handling anything necessary to grow, handle, and care for livestock; or

(2)  in erecting, operating, and maintaining improvements necessary to handle, thresh, and prepare agricultural products or for conservation projects.

(b)  A person who dumps more than five pounds or 13 gallons of litter or other solid waste from a commercial vehicle in violation of this subchapter is presumed to be dumping the litter or other solid waste for a commercial purpose.

(c)  It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 365.012 that:

(1)  the storage, processing, or disposal took place on land owned or leased by the defendant;

(2)  the defendant received the litter or other solid waste from another person;

(3)  the defendant, after exercising due diligence, did not know and reasonably could not have known that litter or other solid waste was involved; and

(4)  the defendant did not receive, directly or indirectly, compensation for the receipt, storage, processing, or treatment.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 740, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  365.015.  Injunction; Venue; Recovery Of Costs.

(a) A district attorney, a county attorney, or the attorney general may bring a civil suit for an injunction to prevent or restrain a violation of this subchapter. A person affected or to be affected by a violation is entitled to seek injunctive relief to enjoin the violation.

(b)  Venue for a prosecution of a criminal offense under this subchapter or for a civil suit for injunctive relief under this subchapter is in the county in which the defendant resides, the county in which the offense or violation occurred, or in Travis County.

(c)  In a suit for relief under this section, the prevailing party may recover its reasonable attorney fees, court costs, and reasonable investigative costs incurred in relation to the proceeding.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.



Section  365.016.  Disposal Of Litter In A Cave; Criminal Penalty.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person disposes litter, a dead animal, sewage, or any chemical in a cave.

(b)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless:

(1)  it is shown on the trial of the defendant that the defendant previously has been convicted once of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor; or

(2)  it is shown on the trial of the defendant that the defendant previously has been convicted two or more times of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is a felony of the third degree.

Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.161, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.



Section  365.017.  Regulation Of Litter In Certain Counties.

(a) The commissioners court of a county may adopt regulations to control the disposal of litter and the removal of illegally dumped litter from private property in unincorporated areas of that county. The commissioners court may not adopt regulations under this section concerning the disposal of recyclable materials as defined in Chapter 361 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b)  Prior to the adoption of regulations the commissioners court of a county must find that the proposed regulations are necessary to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of that county.

(c)  The definitions of Section 365.011 apply in this Act. "Illegally dumped litter" means litter dumped anywhere other than in an approved solid waste site. "Litter" has the meaning assigned by Section 365.011, except that the term does not include equipment used for agricultural purposes.

(d)  The regulations adopted by the commissioners court may require the record property owners to pay for the cost of removal after the commissioners court has given the record property owner 30 days written notice to remove the illegally dumped litter.

(e)  Regulations adopted under this section are in addition to any other law regarding this issue and the stricter law shall apply.

(f)  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, a district attorney, a county attorney, or the attorney general may bring a civil suit to enjoin violation of regulations adopted under this section and to recover the costs of removal of illegally dumped litter. In such a suit the prevailing party may recover its reasonable attorney fees, court fees, and reasonable investigative costs incurred in relation to that proceeding.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 828, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 439, Sec. 1, eff. June 9, 1995.



Subchapter C. Special Provisions

Section  365.031.  Litter, Garbage, Refuse, And Rubbish In Lake Sabine.

The governing body of Port Arthur by ordinance may prohibit the depositing or placing of litter, garbage, refuse, or rubbish into or on the waters of Lake Sabine within the municipal limits.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.032.  Throwing Certain Substances In Or Near Lake Lavon; Criminal Penalty.

(a) The definitions provided by Section 365.011 apply to this section.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person throws, leaves, or causes to be thrown or left wastepaper, glass, metal, a tin can, refuse, garbage, waste, discarded or soiled personal property, or any other noxious or poisonous substance in the water of or near Lake Lavon in Collin County if the substance is detrimental to fish or to a person fishing in Lake Lavon.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless it is shown on the trial of the defendant that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.033.  Discarding Refuse In Certain County Parks; Criminal Penalty.

(a) The definitions provided by Section 365.011 apply to this section.

(b)  In this section, "beach" means an area in which the public has acquired a right of use or an easement and that borders on the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico or extends from the line of mean low tide to the line of vegetation bordering on the Gulf of Mexico.

(c)  This section applies only to a county park located in a county that has the Gulf of Mexico as one boundary, but does not apply to a beach located in that park.

(d)  A person commits an offense if the person discards in a county park any junk, garbage, rubbish, or other refuse in a place that is not an officially designated refuse container or disposal unit.

(e)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless it is shown on the trial of the defendant that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.



Section  365.034.  County Regulation Of Litter Near Public Highway; Criminal Penalty.

(a) The commissioners court of a county may:

(1)  by order prohibit the accumulation of litter for more than 30 days on a person's property within 50 feet of a public highway in the county;

(2)  provide for the removal and disposition of litter accumulated near a public highway in violation of an order adopted under this section; and

(3)  provide for the assessment against a person who owns the property from which litter is removed under Subdivision (2) of the costs incurred by the county in removing and disposing of the litter.

(b)  Before the commissioners court takes any action to remove or dispose of litter under this section, the court shall send a notice by certified mail to the record owners of the property on which the litter is accumulated in violation of an order adopted under this section. The court may not remove or dispose of the litter or assess the costs of the removal or disposition against a property owner before the 30th day after the date the notice is sent under this subsection.

(c)  If a person assessed costs under this section does not pay the costs within 60 days after the date of assessment:

(1)  a lien in favor of the county attaches to the property from which the litter was removed to secure the payment of the costs and interest accruing at an annual rate of 10 percent on any unpaid part of the costs; and

(2)  the commissioners court shall file a record of the lien in the office of the county clerk.

(d)  The violation of an order adopted under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(e)  In this section:

(1)  "Litter" has the meaning assigned by Section 365.011 except that the term does not include equipment used for agricultural purposes.

(2)  "Public highway" has the meaning assigned by Section 365.011.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 126, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 3, Sec. 8.162, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.


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