SEATTLE — Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) launched a pilot program on Friday aimed at reducing illegal dumping in the city.
According to a press release from SPU, the problem exists in many Seattle neighborhoods.
In 2022, the city spent more than $1.7 million addressing illegal dumping, including collecting more than 1.9 million pounds of illegally discarded waste.
“When items like TVs, computers, furniture, tires, construction debris, yard waste, solvents and other potentially hazardous liquids are dumped on roadsides, streets, and alleys, it affects all of us,” said Lee Momon, SPU Clean City Division director. “It burdens taxpayers and neighbors and creates unsafe, unhealthy, and unsightly conditions for the community.”
How will it work?
SPU will install one motion-activated camera in an industrial section of West Seattle. This first camera is located in the 7100 block of Detroit Avenue SW near SW Myrtle St. There will be signs posted to notify the public of the camera.
According to the city, this location is one of the eight hot spots in the city. If the year-long pilot program goes well the city could consider putting one or two cameras in each council district.
“This particular location is one that we had over 5,000 tires dumped, we had a boat, we had cars, we had a whole kitchen remodel done thrown out here, and it's really one of the hot spots in Seattle,” Momon said.
Each camera will only be activated by on-site motion. After a 30-second pause, the camera will play an illegal dumping message. If motion continues on-site, the camera will capture images of the on-site individuals and/or vehicles for investigation.
Photos will be transferred from the camera to city officials. Photos will be deleted or redacted to protect the privacy of those not involved in illegal dumping, according to SPU.
“This pilot reflects several of our key priorities – focusing on fairness and accountability, creating efficiencies, responsibly using technology, and improving our city for all residents,” said Chief Operating Officer Marco Lowe. “The City of Seattle takes privacy very seriously, and this pilot program is solely focused on preventing illegal dumping and holding those committing the illegal action accountable. We will monitor its outcomes to make adjustments as needed and continue to improve service.”
SPU’s Clean City Enforcement Manager will review all images in accordance with the city's Litter Control Code.
If they find an individual violated the code, SPU will reach out to them and find a resolution. The resolution could involve cleaning fees, violation fees, or community service.
To find an SPU Transfer Station where items can be dropped off for a fee, click here.