UPDATED: 3 MARCH 2023 AT 4.40 PM
The city of Seattle spent $1.7 million in 2022 to clean up illegal dumping. Because of this and its impact on the environment, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has launched a new program aimed at curbing illegal dumping in the city.
“We want to educate people about the problems of illegal dumping,” Lee Momon, SPU Clean City Division Director told MyNorthwest. “We want people to understand the impact. We would initially issue a citation, but if it continues to happen, we may have to use fines and community service.”
The pilot program will use motion-activated cameras in West Seattle to see if they can deter people from dropping off unwanted possessions.
The first camera in the SPU pilot is located in the 7100 block of Detroit Ave SW near SW Myrtle St. Signage at the site notifies the public of the camera.
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“We are very pleased that SPU is taking steps to curb illegal dumping,” said Marc Sherman, vice president of Pacific Plumbing Supply Company. “The camera near our business is a welcome addition, as illegal dumping is a serious problem and safety issue for our employees and customers.”
SPU expects to deploy at least one more camera on city-owned land, with a high frequency of illegal dumping, by the end of the year.
Images will be transferred from the camera to a secured file. Images will be deleted and/or edited to protect the privacy of those not involved in illegal dumping.
“This pilot reflects several of our key priorities – focusing on equity and accountability, creating efficiencies, responsible use of technology and improving our city for all residents,” said Chief Operating Officer Marco Lowe.
Lowe said the city will monitor the results to make adjustments and improve service.
Last year, nearly 2 million pounds of illegally dumped trash was collected.
“When things like televisions, computers, furniture, tires, construction waste, yard waste, solvents and other potentially hazardous liquids are dumped on roadsides, streets and alleys, it affects us all,” Momon said. “It burdens taxpayers and neighbors and creates unsafe, unhealthy and unsightly conditions for the community.”
Click here for more information on SPU transfer stations where items can be dropped off for a fee.
The community can help the utility by reporting illegal dumping using the Find It, Fix It mobile app. They can also call (206) 684-7587 to report problems on public property. For language interpretation, call (206) 684-3000.