City of Amarillo continues to combat illegal dumping with camera initiative

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Since the city of Amarillo’s illegal dumping task force began through the Public Works Department last October, officials are saying that some individuals throughout the community have been cited for illegal dumping within the city.

Donny Hooper, the director of public works for the city of Amarillo, said through placing 10 cameras at various locations which have seen high levels of illegal dumping throughout the community, officials have issued 28 citations related to illegal dumping, the majority of which came from a single location.

“We then started putting them in… semi-permanent locations where we have known areas for illegal dumping. It’s been pretty revealing,” he said. “It’s also been pretty effective so far because actually in places where we have high success in catching some people illegal dumping, the numbers have dropped since the program started.”

Hooper said the citations range from $50-250. based on if it was a first offense or subsequent offense. A figure covering recovery costs will also be added to that fine, consisting of what it costs to remove the item which was illegally dumped, including the manpower and the equipment used. The most frequent items that officials see illegally dumped are various pieces of furniture, as well as appliances and tree limbs.

“What we’ve seen is as we’ve issued those fines and as we’ve issued those recovery costs, the illegal dumping there has slowed dramatically,” Hooper said of the location which has seen the most citations. “We expect to see the same at other locations.”

Hooper stressed the cameras can be moved to other locations in need. Officials also plan on adding more cameras throughout the city until the department has a handle on illegal dumping throughout Amarillo.

“It’s tough. It’s just a tough, tough challenge because it is so widespread. It’s not limited to one portion of the city. It’s in the northeast, the northwest. It’s in the southeast and the southwest. It’s all over the place,” he said. “We are trying to identify those locations, make sure that we have cameras in place and make sure we can catch the people that are doing that… We think it has been effective and we think it’s going to continue to be more effective.”

But the overall goal of the initiative is to educate the public and to use other services to alleviate illegal dumping throughout the community. Hooper said this includes the city’s front curbside collections program. This program gives residents the chance to call and have a large item picked up at their house that they need to get rid of.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it’s illegal to put something besides your dumpster,” he said. “They don’t realize that it’s illegal to take (something) and stick it on a vacant lot somewhere. We’ve truly found that people don’t know, so our goals are to educate and then to eradicate the illegal dumping as much as we can.”

For more information about the city’s illegal dumping initiative, visit its website or call 806-378-6813.

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