IT'S THE LAW
"It shall be unlawful for any person, their agent, employee, or any person under their control to suffer or permit any dirt, sand, gravel, clay, stone rocks, rubbish, building rubbish, sawdust, shavings or trade or household waste, refuse, ashes, manure, garbage, rubbish or debris of any sort or any other organic or non-organic material or thing other offensive matter being transported in a dump truck or other vehicle to be dumped, deposited or otherwise disposed of in any street, lot, park, publicity or privately owned."
-Section 16-119 of the Administrative Code
of the City of New York
Illegal Dumping is a major problem throughout many communities in New York City. These conditions cause significant health and safety issues, lower property values, and detract severely from a basic quality of life. It should be a basic right and condition for all people in all neighborhoods to be free from the effects of illegal dumping. Unfortunately, not all people respect the rights of others. Garbage does not simply appear in city streets. The filthy habits of selfish and inconsiderate people create this entirely avoidable condition in our city.
However, it is the City's responsibility to protect law abiding citizens from the harm and destruction of people intent on breaking the law. It is also the City's responsibility to maintain our city to an acceptable level of cleanliness as well as to enforce existing laws. Sanitation services are an essential city service. Proper resources and management must be allocated to combat this important issue. The City should also be held responsible to respond to reported conditions in a reasonable time.
NYC park Advocates is strongly committed to help combat this destructive condition.
We advocate for proper resources, and report on existing conditions to help ensure that all communities receive an acceptable level of service. In order to do this, your help is required!!
Please notify the proper authorities whenever you see a situation that requires attention. It is imperative you report sanitation problems by calling 311. This will help in two ways. First, the city is supposed to respond to these complains so that the problems can get resolved. Secondly, the city tracks the type and volume of complaints, and these statistics are included in the Mayors Management Report, an over-all accounting of city services that is released annually. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the sanitation problems affecting communities are ever reported. In many situations, decades have elapsed without appropriate action being taken. This trend must be reversed!
Reporting problems and unacceptable conditions by calling 311 is an important first step in being able to hold the city accountable. Remember, you are the "eyes and ears" of the city. It is also imperative you bring these problems to the attention of your elected officials. You can also get the name of your representatives by calling 311, as well. The cleanliness of our neighborhoods literally depend on your involvement. Please Help.
How to Report a Problem
Call 311. Report the nature and location of the problem to the operator. Say you would like to be connected to a Sanitation Specialist." You will be asked what kind of materials have been dumped. It is very important to make a note of the items dumped. Larger items, for instance, abandoned cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, requires a different equipment and personnel to remove it.
> This process can take between five and ten minutes. Please be patient. Before you end the call, it is important to obtain a service request number, or confirmation number, from the operator. An example of this number is: C1-1-1151683182. Please send this number to NYC Park Advocates via mail or e-mail, () so that we can track the effectiveness of the city's response. This will also help us measure the effectiveness of our outreach. Please be persistent in calling 311 again, if no action is taken in a timely manner.
Illegal debris dropped off in front of a lot, private home, apartment building, business, or on the sidewalk, generally get reported under a Drop Off Condition (Code # 15) If the debris is inside a lot, it is generally considered a Lot condition (Code # 8) If there is garbage both inside and outside a lot please indicate this to the sanitation specialist so they may make the proper report.
By law, lots must also be free of overgrown weeds. In sanitation lingo this is called a weed condition. (weeds only Code # 22) When unmaintained, lots become seed sources for other weeds and spread, not only to other parts of your neighborhood, but to communities across the city. Overgrown lots also encourage illegal dumping and create unsanitary conditions including attracting rats.
You may also report standing or stagnant water in lots. This is especially important from April 1st through the end of October which is West Nile season.
Most clean-ups happen as a result of conditions viewed from the street or from public property. However, if you know of a situation that is not easily viewed from a public vantage point, or the property owner is not cooperating, the department can also ask a judge for an "access warrant" to enter private property to correct a sanitary or public health problem.
Below are some sample conditions and notes
Lot ConditionBailey Ave. btw. Sedgwick & Heath Aves. (South of 2455 Sedgwick Ave) -Bronx
40 plus Tires, air conditioner frames, mattress etc.
Reference Number: ML 5602612
Date Called: 213/04 Code # 8
Drop Off Condition Weeds, household and commercial waste. One car & various cars parts, refrigerator, tires Across 511 E. 165th St. btw. 3rd Ave. & Webster Ave
Reference Number: ML0208207 Date Called: 9/10/03 Code # 15
Weed Condition Adjacent to 19 West 128th St. btw. Lenox and 5th Ave. (HPD owns the Property)
Reference Number: 2004 MLc201469 Date Called: 6/10/04 Code # 22
If you see illegal garbage being dumped from a vehicle, you may even be eligible for a cash reward. The Department of Sanitation has two reward programs aimed at helping to stop illegal dumping and rewarding the public for reporting it, ILLEGAL DUMPING AWARD PROGRAM, and the ILLEGAL DUMPING TIP PROGRAM. Both programs reward, at the discretion of the Sanitation Commissioner, 50% of the amount collected from a fine or penalty for unlawful dumping, up to $ 20,000 dollars. In fiscal year 2004, the public received over $5,200 dollars total for reporting illegal dumping, according to a Department of Sanitation spokeswoman.
If you see someone illegally dumping from a vehicle, the Sanitation Department recommends the following.
Observe the vehicle; DO NOT MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN; DO NOT TOUCH THE MATERIAL DUMPED; REPORT THE VEHICLES, NOT THE INDIVIDUALS.
Record vital information, license plate number, vehicle description, nature and quantity of material dumped, time, date and location.
File a citizen complaint form with the Sanitation Police by calling 311. A form will sent to you. Follow the directions, the forms are easy to fill out.