Contact 17: Illegal dumping problem persists

A Bakersfield woman e-mailed 17 News more than two years ago about people dumping trash in front of her business. City crews cleaned up the garbage but since then, she said people continue to trash the neighborhood.

A Bakersfield woman e-mailed 17 News more than two years ago about people dumping trash in front of her business. City crews cleaned up the garbage but since then she said, people continue to trash the neighborhood.

An empty lot filled with tumbleweeds in southeast Bakersfield looks more like a designated dumping ground. Jose Vautista used a giant crane to pluck bulky items from the side of Washington Street.

"One truck does the entire city in a week," explained Sal Moretti, Superintendent of Solid Waste Division.

The city worker hauled away six mattresses on Washington Street alone. "They're dumping mattresses, couches, dead dogs," said Vautista, heavy equipment operator.

Dale Wolfe works nearby and called us in 2010 about the dirty mess. "They say they come out once a month, but I don't think so. I drive here every day and I see the same things for probably two months or more," said Wolfe.

Bakersfield's Greenwaste Facility is just around the corner from the dumping site. "They think that they can dump anything out there, but when they're refused, they dump whatever they have," continued Wolfe.

Unless someone is caught in the act, City Code Enforcement needs a license plate number to investigate someone for illegal dumping. "Sometimes we can go talk to the individual. It all depends on their conscience I guess, if they will accept they were the party that does it," said Wanda Neal, City Code Enforcement Supervisor.

Unless the person confesses, there are no consequences. But, the city's new push to clean up litter will include funding to hire more drivers like Vautista and more officers to crack down on offenders.

"Officers are going to be paid just to find these guys, just to give these guys the kind of fines that will make them think twice before ever doing that again," said Moretti.

The city will pick up bulky items from your curb for free if you call 326-3114.

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