PUEBLO — In back alleys and along roadsides in Pueblo, crews continue to find piles of old furniture, tires, mattresses, and appliances. News 5 takes a deep dive into Pueblo's ongoing problems with illegal dumping and what we can do about it.
This is an issue the Pueblo area has been trying to deal with for years now, but the numbers show illegal dumping isn't slowing down.
News5 was able to acquire some surveillance footage of some examples of illegal dumping caught on camera impacting neighborhoods in Pueblo.
In one case, people in a truck proceeded to dump several tires along an alley behind homes. Pueblo Code Enforcement leaders say tire dumping has become a major problem because it can cost around $16 a tire to dispose of them properly.
Another set of items being dumped illegally are pieces of furniture. In this case, investigators are working to identify the driver of this truck that backed into an alley and allegedly left a couch and cushions behind.
Pueblo Code Enforcement tells News 5 these are just a couple of examples of how these things continue to happen and they aren't victimless incidents.
"Illegal dumping is a problem that is plaguing our community throughout. So, when someone drives down an alley and leaves something in an alley you are victimizing a property owner which isn't right. It's not fair to do," said Karen Willson of Pueblo Code Enforcement.
Let's take a look at the scope of the problem. From 2016 through 2018 pueblo code enforcement dealt with roughly 40 cases of illegal dumping a year, but starting in 2019 the number of illegal dumping cases exploded. In 2020 the cases topped out at 150 and already this year Pueblo Code Enforcement has dealt with 50 cases.
To help combat this problem, in recent years some of the hot spots for illegal dumping were spotlighted and surveillance cameras have been strategically placed to try to identify how the illegal dumping is happening and who is doing it.
ILLEGAL DUMPING HOT SPOTS IDENTIFIED: The Pueblo City County Trash Task Force is showing the hot spots for illegal dumping in Pueblo city and county. The map below is where the group wants to put 20 cameras to catch people dumping their junk. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/8NmK6C89jI— Carl Winder KOAA (@CWinderKOAA) June 25, 2019
"It will cost you more if you're caught. Any code violation is subject to fines up to $1,000," said Willson. "I do hear a lot of complaints about the cost of dumping and the cost of the landfill."
Pueblo does offer a large item and tire drop-off. You have to acquire a voucher for your address. It's $10 dollar per large item and $1 dollar per tire with a limit of nine.
For more information call 719-553-2748 or visit the City of Pueblo's page on large item drop-off.
There are actually more reports of illegal dumping than actual cases because there isn't enough information to hold people accountable. Law enforcement agencies say one of the biggest challenges for cracking down on the illegal dumping issue is connecting the dumped items to the people who are leaving them.