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DWR conservation officers find plastic bags, latex gloves in dead deer

WANSHIP, Summit County — Conservation officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have wrapped up an investigation regarding dead deer found near the Three Mile Landfill west of Rockport Reservoir.

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Dead deer were found with plastic bags and latex gloves in their remains near the landfill.

Here are their findings:

  • Dead deer were found with plastic bags and latex gloves in their remains. This confirms reports from two witnesses who told the investigating officer that they saw deer eating plastic bags at the landfill this past winter.
  • Because the deer are in an advanced state of decomposition, it isn’t possible to submit organ samples to a lab to learn what role the plastic bags and latex gloves might have played in the death of the deer.

During the investigation, the conservation officers learned that landfill employees spread about 6 inches of dust over newly dumped trash each evening. However, in wet or windy conditions, the dust is easily washed or blown away. Once it’s gone, it’s much easier for deer to access the garbage. Also, the landfill did not stockpile enough dust this past winter, and once the supply ran out, dust was not available to place over the trash.

DWR officers said landfill operators were extremely cooperative during the investigation. It isn’t financially feasible to try to fence the entire 22-acre landfill, but operators have another solution: instead of covering newly dumped trash with dust, they’ll start covering it with 6 inches of clay. The clay won’t blow away in the wind and won’t wash away when wet.

The landfill operator is hopeful spreading clay will solve the problem. In the meantime, DWR officers are arranging a meeting with the DWR, the landfill operator and the Department of Environmental Quality to discuss the issue further.

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