*WINNER* GIS Analysis of Illegal Dumping in the Upper Cumberland and Recommendations for Abatement


  • Melody Culver
  • Jordan Durham
  • Savannah Shanklin
  • Mike Bolan
  • Phillip Fox


Students in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Capstone Experience 1 and 2 courses have prepared recommendations for the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) to address illegal dumping in the 14 counties of the Upper Cumberland. The purpose of this study was to compile the best available information and to characterize dumpsites for analysis and decision making. In Capstone 1, teams conducted literature reviews for the associated sociological, economic, and environmental issues and compiled a white paper discussing the motivations for illegal dumping, benefits and costs of abatement, environmental and health effects of dumping, best practices for educating and motivating children and adults, helpful data management and grant strategies, and best practices for discouraging and preventing dumping. Our Geographic Information System (GIS) team produced an ESRI ArcGIS map and evaluated dumpsites across counties to create a standardized form for collection of characterization data. Using coordinates provided by Chuck Sutherland, Director of Informatics for the UCDD, Capstone 2 traveled to sites to characterize them by content, area, volume, and location. We documented coordinates for additional illegal dumpsites we discovered, and created a more detailed database. We also used GIS capabilities to combine spatial and aspatial information to identify trends and common characteristics of dumpsites. The material will be provided to the UCDD and can be used by government officials, the public, and researchers to develop prediction algorithms and to inform policy decisions. Capstone 2 is also planning a cleanup and researching grant opportunities applicable to illegal dumping in the region.






Environmental Studies