Richmond to crack down on illegal dumping

The city of Richmond plans to crackdown on people who are illegally dumping unwanted furniture and items.

April 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A crackdown is coming on people who dump their trash, appliances, and all sorts of junk on public property. Authorities in Contra Costa County have a plan and they're relying on new funding and new technology.

"They don't think we care. Look, this stuff happens every week," said Richmond resident Roosevelt Lee.

The road to the Contra Costa County dump has long been littered by people who don't want to pay the waste fee, mostly in Lee's low-income neighborhood in North Richmond.

"They keep going. That's what I'm saying. Why you want to mess up our neighborhood when we're trying to help each other?" said Lee.

But now the unincorporated part of Richmond is utilizing the North Richmond Waste and Recovery Fund. It's helping catch those who dump everything from old tires to mattresses and hazardous materials.

A leather couch was dumped in the middle of a field and most of the stuff looks like it was tossed over the wall, close to an apartment complex on the other side.

Catching them in the act is the tough part, but now the waste recovery fund is paying for hidden cameras to be installed in the next few months.

"They're stationary, but they can be moved, they're not hardwired in and what they do is they can yell at someone, let them know they're being photographed, or they can be silenced and you can just take photographs while they're doing what they do," said Tim Higares from the Richmond Code Enforcement unit.

Authorities say they still rely mostly on residents who care like Mark Wassberg.

"I caught this one guy emptying out his truck, so I videoed his license plate and turned it into the county police and they got him," said Wassberg.

Authorities say he was pouring out hazardous material along Brookside Drive and another person was caught dumping two sofas on the road. Police say they're just the first two in what they expect to be a much larger crackdown.

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