Birmingham puts companies that illegally dump on notice

Updated: Sep. 16, 2019 at 3:09 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You could now face possible jail time and fines up to $3,000 if you’re caught throwing trash on the side of the road in Alabama. In Birmingham, littering and illegal dumping is an ongoing problem. The city is now targeting businesses that illegally dump.

For over a year now, old car parts and other debris have been piling up in Birmingham’s Wahouma neighborhood. We found car bumpers and other trash just off 68th Street North and 5th Avenue North.

"Instead of taking them to the landfill where they belong, they are bringing them to Wahouma and dropping them off here, leaving us to look at these things week in and week out,” Robert Walker, president of the neighborhood said.

Walker is tired of his community turning into a dumping ground. "This is something that you don’t want to see if your neighborhood. Everybody wants a nice, clean, safe neighborhood. We want one too,” Walker said.

A few weeks ago, someone dumped what looked like an entire house in the back of the old Eastside Park in the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve. We found a dish washer, carpet, the top of someone’s stove and their mailbox piled up. We’re told someone cut the lock on the park’s gate before dumping everything.

City Councilman Hunter Williams says illegal dumping is city-wide problem.

"A lot of times people think they can cut corners and not pay the dump site fee, and that’s not the case. The city of Birmingham will do whatever we have to do to make sure that we find those who are illegally dumping,” Williams, who represents District 2, said.

Williams says that also includes going after business licenses of the companies doing it.

"We go one step further and make sure that they will not be doing business within the city of Birmingham,” Williams said.

Earlier this year when presenting the budget, Mayor Randall Woodfin said all 99 of the city’s neighborhoods should be treated equally. When it comes to keeping them clean and blight-free, Walker hopes the city sticks to that promise. He also suggests putting up cameras to catch people dumping.

"I’d just like to see city hall do something like they swore they would do, and taking care of the concerns of the citizens of Birmingham,” Walker said.

Wahouma is in City Councilman’s Darrell O’Quinn’s district. He says there is money in next year’s budget that will go towards technology that will make code enforcement more efficient, including some money that will allow code enforcement officers to report things like illegal dumping from the field.

The best way for residents to report illegal dumping is by calling 311, especially if the site has been cleaned up before, but dumpers strike again.

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