Litter Control

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Littering is defined as throwing, scattering, spilling, placing, dumping, depositing, causing or allowing to be thrown, blown, scattered, spilled, thrown or placed, or otherwise disposing of any solid waste upon any property with or without the consent of the property owner unintentionally or intentionally.

Litter Mitigation

It is illegal to dump trash, tires, appliances or any solid waste item other than at permitted solid waste facilities. Rowan County’s Ordinance Enforcement Officer investigates illegal dumps, illegal burning, littering, throughout the county. This officer investigates complaints from concerned citizens and law enforcement officials alike and has the authority to issue violation citations. Illegal dumping occurs primarily along the secondary roads of our county. 

The Rowan County Department of Environmental Management has developed a Litter Mitigation Program, which includes County staff and NC Department of Public Safety Community Service.  


Landowners are responsible for cleanup of dumping that occurs on their property. The Ordinance Enforcement Officer will investigate any bagged trash that may lead to a name or address that could result in a notice of violation being issued. A warning to clean up is often given before a citation is issued.

Reporting an Illegal Dump

To report an illegal dump, contact the Ordinance Enforcement Officer at 704-216-8589 and provide the location of the site.

Community Involvement

Adopt A Highway Program

The NC Department of Transportation began its Adopt A Highway Program in 1988 as a volunteer clean-up organization committed to reducing roadside litter and keeping North Carolina’s highways clean. 

Adopt A Highway volunteers save taxpayers approximately $4 million in annual litter clean up costs. North Carolina has one of the largest anti-litter programs in the nation with 6,000 participating groups and 120,000 volunteers throughout the state.

To learn more and Adopt A Highway, contact the Office of Beautification at 800-331-5864 or visit the Adopt A Highway Program webpage.

Swat-A-Litterbug Program

The Swat-A-Litterbug Program is an educational effort administered by the Office of Beautification Programs within the North Carolina Department of Transportation that allows for citizens to report littering by identifying the offender by their license plate number and then sending the offender a notice that they have been observed in the act of littering.  

Each citizen is asked to assist in an educational effort to ensure a cleaner and safer North Carolina roadway system. You may report a litterbug by contacting the Office of Beautification Programs at 800-331-5864 or visiting the Swat-A-Litterbug Program webpage.

Report Roadside Debris

You may report roadside debris on the NC Department of Transportation’s website or by calling 1-877-368-4968 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may also report debris to the Environmental Management office. For emergencies, please call 911.