LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dump garbage illegally and it will cost you. That's the message Louisville city officials want illegal dumpers to know. City leaders now believe they have a good track record for busting them to stand by.
Pete Flood, the compliance and enforcement manager for Public Works says his crew has upped their game to catch illegal dumpers.
We were there as they searched for addresses in this pile tossed under I-264.
"That's a pretty good indication that this particular person lived at that address," Public Works enforcement officer, John Renn said as he picked up an envelope with an address on it.
Digging for information is only part of their detective work. The city also has 19 cameras that have helped catch the dumpers in actions. Vigilant neighbors have helped as well with surveillance cameras of their own.
According to city records, more than $23,000 in fines for illegal dumping were collected in 2015. The city's Solid Waste Management Services also impounded 15 cars while the Louisville Metro Police Department impounded another three. The city also collected more than $9,000 in fees for impounding and storing the cars.
"It cost them more to get the vehicle out than what the vehicle is worth," Flood said.
If the fine is not paid in 72 hours, they can keep the car for six months. At the one year mark, the city auctions it off.
The city notes that the number of reports of illegal dumping in 2015 was down by 22%.
"That's a big deal and a huge quality of life issue for people that continually have to look at this," Flood said.
People like Allon Horton who lives near Humler Street, a target area.
"It makes me feel bad because it's something I wouldn't do and I wouldn't want anybody else to do it in my neighborhood," Horton said.
"This is my environment where I live at, you know. No, I don't like it at all," another nearby resident, John Henderson told us.
The city passed an ordinance in 2012 which gives LMPD officers and other city officials the authorization to enforce the code. If the license plate and vehicle are clearly seen in pictures or video, the ordinance also allows for any picture of the individual to be used by the prosecution.
Fines can be up to $5,000. Add to that a $250 clean up fee. The vehicle involved may also be impounded for six months and up to a year.
To Horton, he's happy the ordinance wasn't just trash talk.
"Because once you hit their pockets, it hits home," he said.
Flood had one piece of advice for those paying someone to remove trash from their property. He recommends you ask for a dumping receipt before paying for it. That way, Flood says, you don't run the risk of the person pocketing the dump money and throwing the trash in the street.
If you want to report illegal dumping, call 3-1-1.