Illegal dumping a continuing problem in Iron Triangle

March 5, 2011 12:52:32 AM PST
People are using the yards of the many vacant and foreclosed homes in Richmond's Iron Triangle as trash cans. Officials say as soon as they clean-up one mess, there is a new one somewhere else.

Gloria Jackson lives next to an empty lot on 5th and Bissel Avenue in Richmond's Iron Triangle.

"I seen people coming in here with trucks, they've dumped lumber, they dumped couches, everything," Jackson said.

Piles of garbage sit next to her home. Food, clothes and other trash, which she says is not only ugly but unhealthy. She says it is a constant battle to keep the area clean.

Friday, she was able to complain directly to Richmond City Councilman Corky Booze. He was showing ABC7 spots throughout the area where illegal dumping has become commonplace.

"The banks' foreclosed homes, vacant properties, alleys like this, it's just people who are out there doing construction work and don't want to go to the dump and pay the fees," Booze said.

Some of the dumping grounds are just off alleys. Others are the backyards of foreclosed homes, which at times Booze says, become playgrounds for children. One spot has containers of hazardous waste and rotten lumber bristling with rusty nails. Neighbors say that crews come in at all times of the day or night to dump their material.

The city of Richmond says it is looking for funding. They are going to try and get some money to put in stationary cameras to try and catch those people who dump in the act.

"That they will be here on the corners where we see consistent dumping and then we'll be able to track a license plate down and prosecute," Booze said.

City crews try, but they can barely clean an area before someone fills it with more trash. The fine for illegal dumping is $1,000. Booze wants to go even further.

"You know, a lot of people just get a slap on the hand and they just pay a little fine and that's it, I think we need to be more aggressive, jail time need to happen," Booze said.

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