Illegal dump sites cost taxpayers thousands


by Adam Walser

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 8 at 6:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Tons of trash was illegally dumped in a West Louisville alley, it's a problem local officials say they have to deal with regularly. Officials recently ran into another extreme example.

The incident was reported in an alley near the intersection of Virginia Avenue and South 32nd Street.

City Public Works crews were called to the alley last week, after sanitation crews found large piles of junk dumped there.

A few days later, they responded to a site less than a block away to remove what appeared to be some of the same trash spotted last week in a neighbor's backyard.

So far, city crews have removed more than 20 tons or 40,000 pounds of junk.

“There was so much trash out here, that I actually couldn't drive my car through here,” neighbor Deborah Ingram said.

“It's not just some random junk items. It's someone taking a whole house full of junk and putting it in the alley for the city and the taxpayers to have to pay it,” Tracy Hodgens, a supervisor for Louisville’s Inspections, Permits and Licenses Department said.

The junk pile featured everything from old furniture to rotten food to used needles.

“Children were standing out here playing, going through the trash. We didn't know what was in it,” Ingram said.

By the time we arrived, the city had already emptied six dump truck loads at the landfill. Add in the dumping fees, equipment costs and labor and it adds up.

“Just that one property alone, you could be looking at $5,000, $10,000,” Hodgens said.

And it's far from the only illegal dumping site in Louisville.

“Every day, all day. The funny thing is you never actually catch them in the act,” Hodgens said.

The dumping happened in council member Attica Scott's district, where the city has used surveillance cameras and photos from witnesses to bust others.

“We've captured four people in the act of dumping, and the word's gonna get out. It's gonna stop, it has to stop,” Donna Sanders, Scott’s Legislative Assistant said.

While neighbors believe they know where the trash came from, they can't definitively prove it.

City officials say they cannot prosecute offenders without catching them in the act, which is where you come in.

If you spot anyone dumping illegally, call 9-1-1 and take a picture or video if at all possible.

Five new surveillance cameras aimed at catching illegal dumping will be installed in Scott’s council district in about a month.