City installing cameras to help catch people illegally dumping waste

ATLANTA — After years of trying to find and prosecute illegal dumpers, the city of Atlanta may have found a solution.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston talked with Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Al Wiggins, whose department gets over 2,000 complaints of illegal dumping of tires, mattresses and construction waste a year.

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The problem is that they can only give tickets for about 100 of those complaints because they can’t catch the criminals in the act.

“Most of the illegal dumping is done in the cloak of darkness, or under the canopy of a tree, on roads that aren’t highly traveled,” Wiggins said. “We’ve found they’re used tire shops that illegally dump these items for the most part, but we also find automobile repair shops that don’t want to pay for the disposal fees for whatever reason.”

But Wiggins told Huddleston he may have found a way to uncover the illegal activity with portable surveillance cameras.


They can put them in the city’s infamous trouble spots and catch the criminals in the act.

“This is a very difficult crime to capture,” Wiggins said. “We have over 1,300 roadways throughout the city. That’s longer than the drive from Atlanta to Boston.”

The first camera is in northwest Atlanta at Sizemore Avenue and Alvin Drive.

Huddleston was at that very location six years ago doing a story on the massive dump site and how difficult it was to stop it.

The portable cameras cost about $50,000, but Wiggins may have found a way to save some of those costs.

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He’s having his public works fleet team make their own portable surveillance cameras, saving taxpayers about $15,000 for the 14 cameras he wants put in place by the end of the year.

“We’ll have a group of team members that will monitor footage that occur during those peak dumping hours,” Wiggins said.

Many companies illegally dump because they don’t want to pay the fees to do it the right way.

Wiggins says the city may be able to help with those costs, but once they catch you dumping, they’re not going to help you pay that fine, or avoid jail.