Illegal dumping is a state-wide concern. Dumpsites can be found in every county – 6,500 at last count. In addition to contaminating our soil, surface and groundwater supplies, illegal dumps are unsightly and negatively impact property values. They are a public health hazard as they attract disease-spreading rodents and mosquitos by giving them a place to live and breed. Socially, they send a message that no one cares about the community or property, and quality of life can be negatively impacted.
Cleanups conducted by local municipalities are costly, averaging about $600 per ton, or roughly $3,000 per site and divert tax dollars and staff resources that could be better spent on community infrastructure, parks, or social programs.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, with support from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, has launched the IllegalDumpFreePA Program to help local government and local law enforcement officials curb illegal dumping by exposing those who commit this crime.
Grant recipients (municipalities) will receive a surveillance kit to be placed at undisclosed locations as part of the IllegalDumpFreePA program. The kit includes three concealable, lockable cameras and accessories that capture usable, conviction-worthy footage of license plates and illegal dumpers – even at night. One camera uses wireless technology that can send pictures via text to a registered cellphone when triggered, providing almost instant results.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will provide technical assistance for installation. Municipalities will have the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the grant period. A 2013 pilot program was instrumental in prosecution and convictions in Allegheny, Armstrong and Elk counties.