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DSNY Impounds vehicles of 59 Illegal Dumpers, Recycling Thefts in January

February 5,2008 | Vito A. Turso / Patricia Sorrentino

Press Release # 08-06, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty announced today that the Department of Sanitation's Citywide Illegal Dumping Task Force seized and impounded 59 vehicles that were involved in incidents of illegal dumping and the theft of recyclables during the month of January 2008.   The DSNY Task Force, composed of plainclothes Sanitation Police Officers, monitors known dumping locations and seizes the vehicles of illegal dumpers caught in the act of violating the law.  They also patrol areas where large amounts of curbside recyclables are being removed unlawfully.

The January 2008 impoundments included 24 in Brooklyn, 20 in the Bronx, seven in Queens, seven in Manhattan and one on Staten Island.  When the Department catches an illegal dumper, Sanitation Police Officers can make arrests, if warranted, and impound the vehicles used in the illegal dumping incidents.  The owner of the vehicle is subject to severe fines and will be held responsible for the actions of the operator of the vehicle regardless of being present during the act.  Currently, fines start at $1,500 and range as high as $20,000 per summons.  In addition, the illegal dumper must pay the city a cleanup cost for the illegally dumped material, generally about $150 per cubic yard.

In October, 2007, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law No. 50 of 2007.  Among its provisions, this new law imposes stiff sanctions against persons operating a motor vehicle who unlawfully remove or transport recyclables placed out at residential or commercial curbsides, and from premises occupied by city agencies and institutions that receive Department collection service.  Sanctions include increasing the civil fines from $100 to $2,000 for a first time offender, and $5,000 for second and repeat offenders within a twelve-month period.  The law also authorizes the Department to impound vehicles used by persons caught removing recyclables unlawfully.

Commissioner Doherty said, "Illegal dumping is against the law.  If you do it, you will get caught.  The Illegal Dumping Task Force is the city's front line defense against illegal dumpers who shamefully use our streets and lots as their personal dumping grounds.  We also want to stop the unlawful removal of recyclables from city streets.  The Task Force is acting on that violation, too."

One of Sanitation's critical resources in combating illegal dumping is the Illegal Dumper Tips Program, which was established to help get residents involved without placing them at risk from the dumpers.  The program's goal is to reduce and deter illegal dumping in neighborhoods citywide.  If an individual provides information leading to the conviction or a fine for illegal dumping, they may receive a bounty of up to half the fine imposed.   For more information on the program, residents should call the NYC Citizens Service Center at 311 or visit the DSNY web site at www.nyc.gov/sanitation.