The cost of removing industrial waste including gas cylinders and fridges dumped by a group of travellers will have to be picked up by landowners.
The travellers left Pineham Lock in Northampton after being served with an eviction notice.
The borough council said as the land was private "the costs of clean-up are the responsibility of the landowners".
Landowner Nico Frantoni said the group should be punished "for messing up our land and our lives".
Residents had complained about stone throwing, fly-tipping and threatening behaviour after the travellers arrived at Pineham Lock in August.
They eventually left in early October, but piles of waste were left behind.
Mr Frantoni, who purchased his plot of land with the intention of creating his own nature reserve, said he would "need a lorry to clear all the waste".
He said he was frustrated and upset at being told he would have to pick up the bill.
"Nobody wanted those travellers there or could stop it," he said.
"They left and didn't get charged with anything. They didn't go to court for messing up our land and our lives."
Resident Ashley Smith, whose property overlooks the land, said it was covered in "rubble, mattresses, fridge freezers, ice cream fridges, things that wouldn't come from a residential property".
"Over two months we watched as vehicles came and tipped it," he added.
Mr Smith said he felt "a little uncomfortable" landowners would have to pay for the clear-up but added residents just wanted the waste removed.
County councillor for the area, Pinder Chauhan, said the taxpayer should not have to "pick up the cost of a clear-up on private land".
Mrs Chauhan said the land had been secured by a gate that had been removed by the first landowner to buy a plot there.
"I feel strongly there should be prosecutions," she said, "but with no fixed abode or address how do you chase people down?"
A borough council spokesman said it would be up to landowners "to consider whether civil action is possible to recover costs".
He said landowners "could have taken action themselves as soon as the travellers arrived but chose not to".
He added "under normal circumstances" landowners would have been required to take action to evict the travellers but the local authority became involved because the land was on a flood plain and "presented a risk to those occupying it".
Northamptonshire Police said fly-tipping was a civil matter.