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Mar 24, 2011 7:36 PM by David Ortiviz

Hoarding, illegal dumping continue to create health risk

Perhaps nothing stinks worse, than finding somebody else's garbage on your property. Piles of furniture, rotting food and other trash that you may be forced to clean up.

"Whatever they wanted to get rid of, they dumped it behind our house," said Amanda Rodriguez. She lived in a new housing development on Pueblo's south side. Rodriguez says people used the land behind her property as an illegal dumping ground. "Behind our fence we had freezers of rotted meat, we had everybody's old furniture, tires, roofing material," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says it went on for at least two years. "The stench was horrible." She was afraid to even let her children outside their yard. "It was unsafe for the children to play back there," said Rodriguez.

"It is an ongoing problem in our community," said Chad Wolgram, with the Pueblo City-County Health Department. The health department handled more than 300 cases of illegal dumping in 2010 and it's not always someone leaving a mattress by the road.
It's also illegal to store garbage on your own property. "Litter covers household trash, bricks, lumber, tree branches, autoparts," said Wolgram.

If someone leaves their trash on your land, the health department says try to get a description and license plate number and call the authorities. Otherwise, you may be forced to clean it up. "If we can't locate the person who dumped the trash then it falls back on the property owner," said Wolgram.

"Everytime we saw a vehicle go back there we called the police," said Rodriguez. Rordiguez eventually moved and says her family is much happier now.

The health department doesn't allow piles of trash on private property because of the risk of disease and even possible groundwater contamination.

Contact numbers:

Pueblo code enforcement: 719-553-2592

Colorado Springs code enforcement: 719-444-7891

Pueblo Health Department illegal dumping complaint line: 719-583-4307

 

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