New effort to stop illegal trash dumping in Philadelphia

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's a new effort to stop construction workers and their companies from adding to an ongoing problem in Philadelphia, the illegal dumping of trash.

This week Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke will introduce two new bills that will hit companies and contractors with tough penalties for dumping debris where it doesn't belong.

"We have these contractors who don't have a respect for the existing neighborhoods and we are going deal with them," Clarke exclusively told Action News as he stood in a vacant lot filled with construction debris and trash at 19th and Berks Streets in North Philadelphia.

Residents in the area say the sights of new buildings near Temple University are common but they say with the construction comes illegal dumping.

"If they tear it up, they need to clean it up," said resident Bobby Haith

Council President Clarke says under his proposed legislation companies or contractors doing excavation, construction or demolition projects worth more than $10,000 will be fined $10,000 for illegal dumping.

They'll also be required to give the city a detailed waste collection plan.

The City of Philadelphia Streets Department says it cost taxpayers at least $7,000 a day to clean up a vacant lot after an illegal dumping.

"We should randomly go through check the permits, check the plan of disposition," said Clarke. "If we find that people haven't complied, you hit them with a stiff fine and I think the word would get out that we mean business."

A 2012 "Keep Philadelphia Beautiful" survey found there were at least 300 illegal dumping sites with more than 550 tons of trash.

In the past, Philadelphia has used cameras to combat and ticket those breaking the law. But the Streets Department also relies on tips to 311. In August at Diamond and Stillman Streets, a resident captured a city contracted company dumping a foul smelling sludge on a vacant lot.

"This problems only gets worse," said Clarke. "It just continues and it continues until we can send the appropriate signal that we're no longer going to accept this activity."

Councilman Clarke says it will take continued community involvement and the new bills he'll introduce when council reconvenes Thursday. He expects it will take a month to get the bills passed.

There are designated debris dumping sites across the city for construction contractors and companies for $100 a ton.

More information:

Sanitation Convenience Centers

Report Illegal Dumping
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