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Strong winds in Kansas City cause headache at illegal dumping sites

Posted: 4:31 PM, Mar 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 21:30:59Z
illegal dumping

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Strong winds caused problems for big rigs and tree limbs Thursday, but the weather also created a headache for people trying to clean up areas where people illegally dumped their trash.

Signs around Kansas City say "no illegal dumping," but trash is still piling up at several spots across the metro, including areas near vacant homes.

"(T)he only people coming and going from here are homeless folks, which makes it hard for us to survey because, you know, the more time they spend here, the longer they have to find our cameras," said Alan Ashurst, who has been the illegal dumping investigator for the city for the past six years.

Many of the sites are near dead-end roads. Some have been problem areas for years, while others have been cleaned up due to new development. Ashurst said the sites are typically cleaned up once a month, but Thursday's strong winds made the job even harder.

"When you get fresh trash that's loose and it's not covered by anything, it spreads all over the place," Ashurst said.

Cleanup for illegal dumping sites costs the city more than $2 million a year. With the spread of trash, Ashurst said it takes more resources and makes it more difficult to catch and charge those accused of illegal dumping.

"I could come down here and find a piece of mail and assume you dumped it, well, that's not necessarily the case," he said.

Anyone caught illegally dumping trash could be fined $500 or more.

If you witness someone illegally dumping, report it by calling 816-513-DUMP. If you know of a site or areas that need to be cleaned up, call 311.