El Paso Water, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department and the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 (EPCWID #1) announced the kick-off of a public service campaign to bring attention to the City’s major illegal dumping problem and urge citizens to play a role in helping stop it.
More than 140,000 pounds of trash were illegally dumped in ditches, arroyos and across El Paso within the last year. Tires, mattresses, shopping carts and even toilets are among the most frequent items found and removed.
“Illegal dumping is a big problem in El Paso. Everybody needs to do their part to stop it,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew. “Our crews dedicate a significant amount of time and money to clearing out the trash. We could be using those funds to build more stormwater ponds that keep water off our streets.”
Balliew also pointed out that even a small amount of trash can clog drains and canals, creating a serious flood safety risk in a matter of minutes. He said the problem becomes particularly dangerous during the monsoon season and urged residents to call 311 to report illegal dumping.
City of El Paso Environmental Services Department Deputy Director Kurt Fenstermacher warned illegal dumping carries big consequences: it’s a Class C misdemeanor and you can face up $4,000 in fines.
“We all have to do our part to keep our city safe, clean and beautiful…But that requires us taking action and saying something when we see (illegal dumping),” Fenstermacher said.
To raise awareness of the problem, the new public service campaign will utilize radio, video, digital and outdoor media to get the word out. To demonstrate how big the problem is, EPWater puts the 140,000 pounds of trash in context by pointing out it is equal to the weight of a herd of elephants.
At the kick-off, an elephant sculpture made out of illegally dumped trash was on hand, designed by local artist Jason Brewer. The sound and visuals of elephants are threaded throughout the public service campaign.
El Paso residents are urged to dispose of any large trash or waste at the approved Citizen Collection Centers throughout the city. The centers are located at:
In an effort to decrease the amount of trash found in recycling bins and save taxpayer money, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) will begin a blue recycling bin audit starting Tuesday, October 25.
The City’s contractor, Freidman Recycling Company, has reported the amount of contaminants (non-recyclable items) that has reached the facility has increased dramatically, which increase the fees to the City.
Non-recyclable items can create a hazard for employees who sort recyclables and can damage equipment.
ESD crews will be searching recycling bins for non-recyclable items at least once a week to reduce the amount of trash that is reaching the recycling facility. The audit will be handled on a resident’s normal trash/recycling collection day. If it is determined that the majority of the contents of the recycling bin is non-recyclable, the container will be removed.
If the customer does not comply with City’s recycling ordinance (Municipal Code 9.04.100), the ESD may repossess the recycling bin. If the recycling bin is taken, the customer can get their bin back by participating in a Recycling Right class provided by the ESD. The ESD urges residents to recycle properly to avoid having their recycling container removed.
The ESD reminds the public that trash is not allowed in the blue recycling bin. This includes:
No yard waste
No pizza boxes
The City of El Paso began offering voluntary curbside recycling service in 2007. Recycling is good for the environment; it reduces landfill consumption; and it keeps El Paso clean and beautiful.