HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — More than 50 cameras have been installed in areas where illegal dumping is an ongoing problem.
Harlingen police and code compliance officers are now monitoring these areas via new technology.
City officials say the cameras are meant to keep residents from discarding trash in restricted areas.
“Some of the people that we’ve caught, they told us. ‘Well, it’s because I saw the trash there, so we think it’s just a collection site.’ No, it’s not,” said Harlingen Assistant City Manager Josh Ramirez.
When it comes to illegal dumping, officials are concerned about public health and environmental safety. These dumpsites contain various items from common household and yard trash to appliances, furniture, and other large items.
Hazardous chemicals and biological waste are also discarded and that is a concern for city leaders.
For those looking to dump trash – the city has a collection site residents are welcome to use.
“There’s only one collection site here in Harlingen, and that’s the one that we have over by Harrison, so there’s only one site here or the recycle center or sort of has some containers there for people to go there,” Ramirez said.
Residents will need to present proof they live in Harlingen with either a utility bill or driver’s license.
“So, there’s a site here in Harlingen you can call and take these items, instead of on the side of the road for residents is pretty much free,” Ramirez added.
If caught dumping trash in prohibited areas you can be fined up to $2,000 and you could also land in jail.
Neighbors in the areas where the cameras have been installed tell us since the cameras went up – they have noticed a decrease in illegal dumping in their neighborhood.