Laws & Codes

Virginia's Code on Litter

§ 33.1-346. Dumping trash, companion animals, etc., on highway, right-of-way or private property; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to dump or otherwise dispose of trash, garbage, refuse, litter, a companion animal for the purpose of disposal, or other unsightly matter, on public property, including a public highway, right-of-way, property adjacent to such highway or right-of-way, or on private property without the written consent of the owner thereof or his agent.

B. When any person is arrested for a violation of this section, and the matter alleged to have been illegally dumped or disposed of has been ejected from a motor vehicle or transported to the disposal site in a motor vehicle, the arresting officer may comply with the provisions of § 46.2-936 in making such arrest.

When a violation of the provisions of this section has been observed by any person, and the matter illegally dumped or disposed of has been ejected or removed from a motor vehicle, the owner or operator of such motor vehicle shall be presumed to be the person ejecting or disposing of such matter. However, such presumption shall be rebuttable by competent evidence.

C. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not less than $250 or more than $2,500, either or both.

In lieu of the imposition of confinement in jail, the court may order the defendant to perform a mandatory minimum of 10 hours of community service in litter abatement activities.

D. The governing bodies of counties, cities and towns are hereby authorized to adopt ordinances not in conflict with the provisions of this section, and may repeal, amend or modify such ordinances.

E. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the lawful disposal of such matter in landfills.

Gloucester's County Code on Littering

In Gloucester, littering is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months in jail.

To report illegal dumping, please call the Code Compliance Office at 693-4040. To report litter hot spots, please call the Clean Community Office at 804-693-5370.

Chapter 9 - Garbage & Refuse Article I Section 9-11. - Hauling of Refuse to Disposal Site

Persons electing to haul their own refuse to a county refuse disposal site or to a private site licensed under this chapter shall take the necessary precautions to prevent littering of roadways in violation of the laws of the state.

Virginia's Code on Covered Loads

§ 46.2-1156. Construction, maintenance and loading must prevent escape of contents; load covers; exemptions.

A. No vehicle shall be operated or moved on any highway unless it is so constructed, maintained, and loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping. No provision of this section, however, shall apply to any (i) motor vehicle that is used exclusively for agricultural purposes as provided in § 46.2-698 and is not licensed in any other state; (ii) agricultural vehicle, tractor, or other vehicle exempted from registration and licensing requirements pursuant to Article 6 (§ 46.2-662 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of this title; or (iii) motor vehicle transporting forest products, poultry, or livestock.

B. The loads of all trucks, trailers and semitrailers carrying gravel, sand, coal or other nonagricultural and nonforestry products on interstate, primary, or secondary highways or roads maintained by cities, counties or incorporated towns shall be either (i) secured to the vehicle in which they are being transported or (ii) covered. Covers used to prevent the escape of material from commercial vehicles used to transport solid waste shall be of such design, installation, and construction as to contain the vehicle's cargo within the vehicle, regardless of the vehicle's speed or weather conditions. Public service company vehicles, pickup trucks, and emergency snow removal equipment while engaged in snow removal operations shall be excluded from the provisions of this subsection.

SecureLoad_200x190What is a secured load?

A load is secure when nothing can slide, shift, fall, or sift onto the roadway, or become airborne while the vehicle is driven or moved on any public road.

Examples of load securing equipment

  • Tarps
  • Netting
  • Rope
  • Straps
  • Chains

Tips to secure your load:

  • Tie down using rope, netting, straps, or chains. Securely fasten large items directly to your vehicle. Make sure that any covering is securely tied down.
  • Put lighter items lower and place heavier items on top to help keep them in place and secure the heavy items directly to your vehicle.
  • Cover your load with a tarp. Covering your load with a tarp and then securely fastening the tarp to the vehicle is good way to ensure that your load is secure.
  • Don’t overload your vehicle.
  • Double-check that your load is secure.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there any chance of debris or cargo falling or blowing out of my vehicle?
  • Is my load secured at the back, sides, and top?
  • What would happen to my load if I had to brake suddenly or if I hit a bump?
  • Would I feel safe if I were driving behind my vehicle?
  • According to a study in 2016, by the AAA Foundation for Safety, more than 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014, were caused by road debris. What’s worse? The study showed that road debris resulted in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths in that time. 
  • Here’s another startling statistic: As a nation, we spend up to $11.5 billion on litter, and it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of that litter is from unsecured loads.