2009-05-08 / Top Stories

Undercover Task Force Targets Illegal Dumpers

Far Rockaway Man One Of 15 Busted Last Month
By Nicholas Briano

A Far Rockaway man was one of 15 illegal dumpers busted by the New York City Department of Sanitation's (DSNY) Illegal Dumping Task Force, DSNY officials announced last week.

The task force is aimed at targeting individuals who illegally discard large amounts of trash along city streets. As punishment, violators are fined at least $1,500 and have their cars impounded.

Leacroft McKenzie, of 22-46 Nameoke Street in Far Rockaway, was caught dumping three cubic yards of construction waste. He was one of the 15 caught for illegal dumping in the month of March. The dumping of construction materials is a popular but illegal practice used by contractors and handymen. By law, they are required to rent a dumpster for disposal of large amounts of waste. Eleven of the 15 violations for March involved construction related waste, such as debris, rocks, dirt, bricks and other materials.

McKenzie was busted on Nameoke Street and Chandler Street on March 13, just steps from his home, and as a result got his 1998 Ford E250 impounded, according to DSNY.

Violators totaled eight from Brooklyn, three from The Bronx and four from Queens. The DSNY Task Force is composed of plainclothes Sanitation Police Officers who monitor known dumping locations and seize the vehicles of illegal dumpers caught in the act, such as McKenzie.

Sanitation Officers who catch an illegal dumper can make arrests, if warranted, and impound the vehicles used in the illegal dumping incidents. The owner of the vehicle is then subject to fines and will be held responsible for the actions of the operator of the vehicle regardless if he/she is present during the act. Currently, fines start at $1,500 and range as high as $20,000 per summons, but could reach as much as $40,000 if more than one individual is involved in the act, according to DSNY.

In addition, the illegal dumper must pay the city a cleanup cost for the illegally dumped material, generally about $150 per cubic yard.

"Illegal dumping is against the law. If you do it, you will get caught. The Illegal Dumping Task Force is the city's front line defense against illegal dumpers who shamefully use our streets and lots as their personal dumping grounds," DSNY Commissioner John Doherty said.

One of Sanitation's critical resources in combating illegal dumping is the Illegal Dumper Tips Program, which was established to help get residents involved without placing them at risk from the dumpers. In most cases witnesses to illegal dumping are awarded part of the fines paid by the violator. For more information on how to get involved with the program, residents should call 311 or visit the DSNY web site at www.nyc.gov/sanitation.

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