City program to fight illegal dumping launches

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Residents and authorities have a new tool in helping to end illegal dumping in Chicago.

Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance creating a two-year pilot program that rewards residents with $100 for providing information leading to an illegal dumping conviction.

Last month, the city’s 311 Center went live with the Illegal Dumping Reward Program.

Residents are encouraged to report any information about illegal dumping to 311 along with the description of the type of dumping occurring, either while in progress or after.

The aim is to severely curb the amount of illegal dumping and punish those who set out to purposefully break the law.

To be eligible for the reward, the person reporting the illegal dumping will need to call 311 and give the location of the violation and any description witnessed by of the alleged illegal dumper.

If the dumper is found liable or guilty of illegal dumping, the witness to the dumping will received a $100 reward.

“Residents should not have to live with the threat of hazardous material being dumped next door in the dead of night,” Ald. Jason Ervin said. “This ordinance will shine a spotlight on criminals who think it’s all right to treat our neighborhoods as landfills.”

The Department of Public Health will be charged with conducting an investigations and working with the city’s Law Department to charge and convict illegal dumpers. After the Department of Public Health conducts their investigation the Department of Streets and Sanitation will remove the debris and write the appropriate violation notices.

The Illegal Dumping Reward Program will be paid for by a surcharge of $20 to all illegal dumping fines imposed by the ciy to help offset the reward program. The fines for illegal dumping range from a first offense of $1,500 to $2,500 to subsequent violations of $2,500 to $3,500.

“There will not be any additional city employees hired to administer the program nor any undue burdens place on budgets,” Ervin said.

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