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"Trucker Bombs" Pose Health Hazard Along Roads

"Trucker Bombs" Pose Health Hazard Along Roads

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingLittering is taking on a disgusting meaning across some of the state's highways. The Department of Transportation says truckers and other drivers are throwing out what they refer to as "Trucker Bombs" on the side of the roads.

It's costing taxpayers and creating dangers for those who have to clean it up. These "trucker bombs" are often filled with human waste. Drivers are dropping them off in Parleys Canyon, along US 6 and I-80 out near Wendover.

UDOT says it costs 2 to 3 million dollars to clean up the garbage every year. That's taxpayer money that could be going to fix potholes or make the roads safer.

If you pulled off the freeway coming down Parleys Canyon, you might notice a lot of garbage on the side of the road.

Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: "Right now we've only gone about a week between cleaning up, and it's already piling up."

And what's piling up isn't just empty bags and tossed out candy wrappers.

Nile Easton: "Our crews are really fed up this summer with having to clean up, I hate to say it, but urine bottles."

UDOT says its maintenance crews pick up over 20-thousand urine bottles a year from the state's roads. And that's not all they're cleaning.

Nile Easton: "Right now we've been finding a lot of ziploc bags full of urine, feces, drug paraphernalia, used needles, blood."

The Salt Lake Public Utilities office says they've been concerned about the waste for years because it's relatively close to streams that feed into Little Dell Reservoir. From there, water is treated to become drinking water.

Jeff Snelling, SL Public Utilities Watershed Manager: "There's bacteria and stuff that can be introduced with those type of things being put in our watershed."

The office says, so far they have seen no evidence of waste getting into the water, but that could change if the problem isn't dealt with.

Jeff Snelling: "We would ask the public and the trucking community to do what they can to help discourage these practices."

Nile Easton: "It's illegal, it's disgusting. And you know, it's a safety hazard."

UDOT is putting up fliers at rest areas telling drivers to dispose of their waste properly and letting people know where the rest stops are in the state.

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