Tuesday, September 27, 2022 Sep 27, 2022
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By Rod Davis |

THE CITY Illegal dumping has come a long way since Alice’s Restaurant, when ARLO GUTHRIE used littering as a metaphor for social protest. Now moonlight landfill-ing is a means of doing business. As the first full year of Dallas’s new program to crack down on trash rogues came to a close, the city was still home to 341 illegal dump sites, 70 percent of them in Oak Cliff. But according to dump czar GLADYS Carson of the Department of Street and Sanitation Services, 1991 figures to be a cleaner year. Six field inspectors (all hired since January of 1989) and a strengthened antidumping ordinance should make violators easier to nab. Under the new law, a person or business whose trash is spotted at an illegal site is presumed legally liable for it, which could dramatically alter dump-busting statistics. In 1989-90, field inspectors checked out 24,299 problem sites and identified 458 violators. But only 82 citations were issued. The rest were dismissed or the dumpers were allowed to clean up their mess and escape further punishment.

Under the new “no warning” law, renegade dumpers can be forced to clean up and pay a fine of $200 to $2,000 per day of violation. Carson hopes that the “presumption clause” creates what she calls “traceable evidence,” so that field inspectors-who sometimes use stakeouts and have been threatened with assault by trash thugs-can follow the trail of trash all the way back to its source. In many cases, that’s a used tire firm-such products are the major single component of outlaw dump sites. Carson encourages citizens to report illegal dumping not only for aesthetic and health reasons, but to reduce crime. Trash-filled lots and buildings are like billboards to the bad guys, evidence that nobody cares, literally, what’s going down.

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