Illegal dumping a stubborn problem in Yakima

Illegal dumping a stubborn problem in Yakima »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Alleys and curbsides littered with junk. It's a common sight in parts of Yakima, and the city spends thousands to clean it up every year. KIMA learned how much of your taxpayer money goes to take care of illegal dumping.

Couches, a dresser, even a needle. All dumped behind a church on South 3rd Street.

"We're disgusted. And, we feel like we've been violated."

Charles Brewer is the owner's son-in-law.

"It makes me feel sad that the people don't have enough respect for this city to take care of their own garbage, that they want to dump it on somebody else's property and make them responsible for it."

Charles called Yakima's Refuse Division for help. Workers loaded the junk and hauled it away. A truck full of garbage, a mere drop in the bucket.

In 2013, Refuse employees picked up almost 70 tons of waste dumped illegally around Yakima. That's more than the previous two years.

Crews spent 125 hours cleaning it up, about 50 more than in 2011.

The landfill, vehicle and labor costs? More than $10,000.

"When the wind blows, when I open the garage door, all of that debris stuff flies up right in my garage."

Eddie Hill lives across the street from a pile of junk near North 6th Street.

"I do all I can to keep mine clean. Then people just come and just dump stuff and move on."

But, there's only so much the city can do with a thin staff. With the pilot recycling program starting this spring, Refuse could find itself even more short-handed.

Eight community cleanups last year helped collect more than 100 tons of waste, but they don't stop everything. And, those cost $20,000.

More evidence of the scope of the city's illegal dumping problem.

You can report illegal dumping by calling police with information about who's doing it. Anyone who is caught can be fined up to $250 or spend 90 days in jail.