Saturday, October 22, 2011

Illegal Commercial Dumping Continues in Congress Heights

Abandoned boat on 2nd Street SE
One of the many benefits of living in my Congress Heights neighborhood is being surrounded by a lush green space maintained by the National Park Service. It gives our urban neighborhood a very country feel and is home to a diverse collection of wildlife including deer, foxes, raccoons, wild turkeys, and a bald eagle or two. The downside: illegal dumping.  Often under the cover of darkness (but not always) "dumpers" patrol our streets looking for a place to stash their tires, couches, construction debris, and occasionally a boat alongside the roads next to the forest. 2nd (between Orange and Newcomb) and 4th Streets SE have been especailly hard hit. The dumpers range from individual litter bugs to "professional" dumpers with pick-up and mack trucks.

This morning while walking the dog, I saw a bright metallic blue dump truck with a grey emblem (wings perhaps), parked next to the woods near the corner of 4th St SE and Mellon Street. Weird place for a mack truck to be, then I saw that  right next to and behind the truck was a new pile of tires and other junk. This latest deposit is only three blocks down, and in full view of the  Ward 8 Councilman's house.

A lot of times our East of the River neighborhoods get a bum wrap for the state of our streets, and sometimes it is an internal problem and sometimes it is due to outside forces that are contributing to the blight. Not sure what can be done to combat this problem but action needs to be taken. There has definetly been an uptick in the frequency and types of commercial dumping on 2nd and and 4th Streets SE the past few weeks.

Pictures taken today near the corner of 4th & Mellon Streets SE

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1 comment:

Graylin said...

We have a similar problem in Fairlawn between 13th Street and MLK Avenue along Ridge Place and S Street and along Fairlawn Avenue and the railroad tracks from 16th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. I can recall a few years ago while I was parking, I saw a suspicious raggedy pickup truck in the next block where no one lives. It was pulled over near the woods and railroad tracks. Deciding to investigate, I drove down to the corner as the truck was pulling off. Stopping where I saw the truck standing, I saw several bags of what appeared to be yard waste and construction debris. Continuing around to MLK Avenue, I noticed the pickup truck and began following it up to Malcolm X Street where it stopped for gas. I saw a police officer on a bicycle and managed I waved him down. After explaining what I saw and the problem we have with illegal dumping, the officer radioed for backup.

There were two men with the pickup truck. One was paying for gas at the cashier window while the passenger sat in the truck. The officer asked me to return to my vehicle and to stay in it until he called for me, if needed. He then approached the driver as the driver returned to the truck, and began questioning him. The backup police car arrived and that officer joined the first officer. The passenger said he doesn’t know anything about any dumping; he just got in the truck to get a ride home. The officer requested and recorded their licenses and the truck’s registration information. It had Maryland license plates. They continued denying dumping anything until the officer said he has an eye witness standing by. That’s when the passenger said it was the driver’s idea and he did not know they would be dumping anything. Then the driver said they have been together working all morning and together they dumped the bagged trash down near the railroad tracks.

The officer said he had heard enough and instructed them to go back and recover all of the trash, even what they didn’t dump. He told them the area would be inspected later that afternoon and if there is any trash found they will be issued dumping citations. After the pickup truck left the officer told me what had transpired. I returned home and could see the men picking up the trash. I don’t know what they did with the trash but they did remove the trash they dumped and the other trash that was there.

Right now the dumping in my immediate area has pretty much ceased due to the 11th Street Bridge reconstruction. Where a lot of dumping was occurring is now a construction staging area with barricades that block the drive through traffic. But this spring the 13th Street ramp will be closed and by the end of the summer the staging area will be gone, however it is likely that that area will be still closed due to the new traffic pattern on MLK leading to the new local bridge.