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Greensboro increases penalties for illegal dumping, plans to install cameras to catch the culprits
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Greensboro increases penalties for illegal dumping, plans to install cameras to catch the culprits

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GREENSBORO — It was only four pieces of furniture — a tan chair and loveseat, a broken up recliner and a mattress. 

But the discarded furniture was half in a travel lane on Berryman Street, a small but well-traveled residential street off North Elm. 

And the undeveloped wooded grove where it was dumped had other items of trash in the darker parts of the woods, clearly put there by people who weren't residents of the neighborhood. 

The city hopes new fines and surveillance will cut down on the illegal dumping that has become a nuisance around town. 

City officials and council members have for years heard complaints about the refuse, dumped illegally, and crews have had to pick up the stuff in addition to their regular trash and recycling routes.

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The city says materials most often dumped include bags of household trash, yard and construction waste, furniture, appliances and tires.

Some of those items are supposed to be taken to landfills, where users pay a fee. But some simply dump the trash inappropriately or in places where residential trash is not usually picked up. 

"The poor Field Operations people get a call from us daily," said Councilwoman Sharon Hightower of District 1. 

"We took a tour a few months of some sites with the mayor that were some of the top dumping spots and we've come to the conclusion that this is not really our residents doing this, this is outside dumping coming into the city," Hightower said at a recent City Council meeting. "But it's a health and safety hazard as well."

Council passed last week a beefed-up anti-dumping ordinance that will allow the city to install cameras in some of the most notorious dumping locations. 

After footage is forwarded to city officials, they will track down the owner of the vehicle doing the dumping and assess that person a $500 fine for the first offense. After that, the fine will be $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

City officials say the fines are designed to help the city recover its cost of picking up the refuse, but it will also act as a deterrent to people who are dumping the trash. 

Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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