HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — More than 50 cameras have been placed in Harlingen as officials attempt to address illegal dumping.

A significant amount of illegal dumping is costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to clean up, the city said in a news release. Therefore, officials placed the cameras in hopes of catching those who are breaking the law.

“These dump sites are not only unsightly but also pose serious public health and environmental safety hazards to all of us,” stated a Harlingen news release. “They contain everything from common household and yard trash to appliances, furniture and other large items, to hazardous chemical and biological waste that can leach into the soil and water table.”

According to the city, Lazy Palms Subdivision is one area facing repeated cases and several people have been captured in the act — on camera.

The Harlingen Police Department and Code Compliance officers use the surveillance footage to identify suspects, who would be ordered to court to pay fines.

Common dumping violations in Harlingen include:

  • Construction and demolition waste;
  • Hauling trash for profit and dumping it in unauthorized locations;
  • Chemicals and other hazardous waste;
  • Dumping household trash;
  • Yard waste in unauthorized locations;
  • Letting someone dump waste on your property for residential bulk and brush;
    collection if that waste was not generated from your property;
  • Pouring motor oil or restaurant grease into storm drains or down manholes;
  • Dumping tires.

Anyone who witnesses illegal dumping is encouraged to report it to (956) 216-5200 to get code compliance officers started on an investigation and clean-up efforts.

The city advises the public not to attempt to stop illegal dumping while it is happening.

“Call 911 immediately,” city officials stated. “However, if you can safely do so, take note of the vehicle description, license plate and suspect description to assist the authorities.”