Phoenix Public Works Department handling illegal garbage dumping

It's a familiar sight in some neighborhoods: an old mattress or couch that is dumped on a random street or curb.

Officials with the City of Phoenix Public Works Department said they will take care of the dumping problem, but they also want residents to do their part as well.

Residents in a neighborhood in Laveen were tired of the ever-growing pile of trash that had been collecting at a corner in the area.

"They come in at night time and dump it there," said one man, who is only identified as "Jim". "They do this a lot."

Fed up, many reported the illegal dumping to the City of Phoenix. Now, that has been cleaned up, and it is exactly what the Public Works Department wants residents to do: give them a call, and don't just wait for someone else to clean it up.

"As soon as we get the information from the resident, we send a specialist out to investigate," said Jesse Duarte with the Phoenix Public Works Department. "That's within 24 to 48 hours."

Duarte said the department takes about a thousand reports, every year, of illegal dumping. Investigators said most of the time, the situation ends up being resolved.

"If we can identify, within the content, whose it is, what we do is get in touch with that person that dumped it," said Duarte. "If we can't, then we get it picked up within three to five days."

Fines range from $100 to $2,500, depending on what was left behind. As for sites that end up becoming regular dumping grounds, Duarte said there are also measures in place to handle them.

"We try to put signs up," said Duarte. "We put signs up, illegal dumping signs. Worst case scenario, we can put cameras up to try and alleviate the problem."

There is also a legal and easy way to dump unwanted items on the curb in Phoenix. For four times a year, the Public Works Department schedules bulk trash pickups in every neighborhood.

If one can't wait until the pickup times, however, they can take it, on their own, and dump it at a Phoenix transfer station, for free.

If you witness illegal dumping, the Public Works Department asks that you take down a description of the car or get a license plate number, if you can, and then call the department.