Warrant: Man dumped raw sewage at I-20 Wildlife Preserve

MIDLAND COUNTY -- A man has been arrested in Midland County after authorities say he dumped raw sewage from a trailer park into the I-20 Wildlife Preserve.

Jose Mario Rivas-Gomez, 52. (Photo: Midland County Sheriff's Office)

Jose Mario Rivas-Gomez, 52, has been charged with Illegal Dumping Over 1,000 pounds.

According to an arrest warrant, on January 3 authorities received an environmental complaint about a trailer park pumping sewage onto the wildlife preserve's property.

An investigation of the complaint found that the trailer park was disposing of human waste in sewage pits, and a large pile of waste was found on the property.

Further investigation revealed that the property owner was unaware that there was a residential trailer park on his property and said that a man, identified as Gomez, had lived on his property for years but was not allowed to bring in additional trailers.

Authorities then learned that Gomez lived at a separate trailer park and was using the park to collect money from tenants. Gomez was not authorized to do this.

The trailer park's sewage pit was found to be located uphill from the wildlife preserve's lake and land near the pit sloped steeply downwards.

A total of 1,264 pounds of solid waste was found at the trailer park.

Gomez was then charged and arrested accordingly. A mugshot for Gomez was not immediately available.

The Jenna Welch Nature Study Center shared the following on the case:

Late last year officials at the I20 Wildlife Preserve were made aware of illegal dumping by a concerned citizen. A combined effort with the City Manager's office, the Health Department, the newly formed Environmental Police Unit under the DA's office set out to investigate the illegal dumping.

Currently, the Chemistry Department at Midland College is studying several water samples taken at the Preserve.

The problem of illegal waste dumping has grown with the influx of campgrounds serving the growing need for oilfield worker housing. Midland officials are working hard to alleviate the problem, and it is of great community service to notify city officials of illegal waste dumping. We are thankful for the help of all the agencies involved in making this arrest.