City of San Antonio launches educational campaign to stop illegal dumping, focuses on cleanup efforts

The goal for this year is to clear 11,000 sites and 3,000 tons of trash

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio Solid Waste Management will launch an educational campaign in an effort to stop illegal dumping.

The city is already investing more money into tackling the clean-up efforts, but now it’s time to educate the public.

Desire Orria Soto knows exactly when people illegally dump their trash in and around her neighborhood all the time.

“It happens at random times of the day. Sometimes it’ll happen in broad daylight,” she said.

Soto lives just a few blocks from a chronic dumpsite off Badger Street and I-10. Everyone in the community sees the piles of trash.

“It makes the neighborhood just look cheap and bad,” she said.

Crews with the San Antonio Solid Waste Management Department were out for the second time in two weeks, clearing off piles of trash Tuesday. Andrew Gutierrez, director of the Solid Waste Management Department, said illegal dumping poses a larger environmental hazard.

“You see anything from trash, of course, household trash, furniture, and brush. You see a lot of board fencing and some hazardous materials,” he said.

The city’s 11-member crew is dedicated to clearing illegal dumpsites and homeless encampments.

Last year, the crew cleared 9,000 sites and collected 2,400 tons of trash. The goal for this year is 11,000 sites and 3,000 tons. The city has also allocated more than $500,000 to help the crew with equipment.

“Illegal dumping attracts more illegal dumping, and so it’s in our best interest to get it off the ground as soon as possible,” Gutierrez explained.

The department will strongly focus on educating the public about the available resources and locations where bulk and debris can be disposed of properly.

In the summer, the department teamed up with San Antonio police in an undercover operation that led to the arrest of three people suspected of illegal dumping.

“We’re going to be doing a lot more of these this year. So if you’re dumping, and you get caught. You’re going to have a bad day,” Gutierrez said.

For more Solid Waste Management Department resources, click here.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.