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Illegal dumping costs the city millions of dollars in cleanup: ‘This is a public health issue’

Updated: Feb. 21, 2020 at 7:38 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The City of Cincinnati continues to deal with illegal dumping sites across the city.

The organization Keep Cincinnati Beautiful presented an update to city council about the issue this week.

Their presentation found the Cincinnati Department of Public Services cleans 20-25 illegal dump sites each month, work that costs the city about $8,000 per cleanup, or more than $2 million per year.

Alistair Probst is Keep Cincinnati Beautiful environmental services and green-space manager.

“This is a public health issue," Probst said. “It is also an environmental issue.”

Illegal dumping across Cincinnati cost the city $2.4 million dollars in clean up in 2019
Illegal dumping across Cincinnati cost the city $2.4 million dollars in clean up in 2019(Chris Riva)

Probst patrols the ‘hot spots’ of illegal dumping.

“We patrol these sites, and we we set up cameras as well," he added.

Probst works closely with the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Last year, his team turned in more than 100 dumping vandals to law enforcement.

The illegal landfills have a little bit of everything — tires, furniture, and construction materials along with anything else people can dump.

“Last year we collected close to 20,000 dumped tires,” Probst said.

Here are the hot spots of illegal dumping in Cincinnati neighborhoods
Here are the hot spots of illegal dumping in Cincinnati neighborhoods(Keep Cincinnati Beautiful)

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful told city council that many of the communities dealing with the worst acts of environmental crimes are also those with the most economic despair. Many residents feel they do not have the enough resources to deal with the problem.

The map above shows the areas hardest hit by the illegal dumping.

“This map changes,” Probst said. “New sites pop up and others die down when they know we are patroling.”

The city has invested in 50 illegal dumping signs at many of the hot spots. The signs include the fines associated with getting caught. They range from $1250-$25,000.

Illegal dumping across Cincinnati cost the city $2.4 million dollars in clean up in 2019
Illegal dumping across Cincinnati cost the city $2.4 million dollars in clean up in 2019(Chris Riva)

Hamilton County officials announced a crack down on illegal dumping in June last year with the formation of an environmental crime unit.

A deputy is assigned full-time to the unit. The task force investigates environmental crimes throughout the county.

Now officials are asking residents to report illegal dumping offenses through a new online portal. You can access that portal here.

One focus of the program is to combat tire dumping, which creates a nuisance and a breeding ground of mosquitoes carrying diseases through water accumulation, authorities say.

Officials say the unit will work closely with the prosecutor’s office, public health, the health department, the department of public service, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and the Ohio EPA.

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