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City Set To Approve Illegal Dumping Video Cameras

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - The City of Dallas is putting some new eyes on an old problem. The city council is set to buy three high-tech trailers to conduct video surveillance at several illegal dumpsites, especially those along the Trinity River.

Officials say the trailers will help keep an eye on remote locations that are hard to see from the road.

The city hopes new cameras will put a stop to the practice.

"Through the years we've had a lot of dumping," resident Alice Jiminez said from experience. She says illegal dumping near her Cadillac Heights neighborhood has been going on for generations.

Not far from Cadillac Heights, despite city "no dumping signs," tires, trash and other debris is often tossed into the Trinity River.

"Every weekend there's dumping going on," Jiminez said adding, "It accumulates trash. There's an odor as well that comes from it."

A mile away, out of view atop a hill, there's another active dumpsite.

This Wednesday the Dallas City Council is set to approve the purchase of three surveillance vans.

The portable trailers are outfitted with surveillance gear that will provide visual evidence of illegal dumpers and be used to help prosecute them.

Pauline Medrano heads the council's public safety committee. "It really costs the city thousands of dollars to clean up the mess they've done; it's not just unsightly, it could be environmental hazards as well," he told CBS 11 News.

The city is investing heavily along the Trinity, especially in the Southern Sector where the Great Trinity Forest will be the largest metropolitan green space in America.

Currently city marshals familiar with illegal dumping areas, frequently ask drivers if they've seen anything. But the new trailers will allow round-the-clock surveillance and provide proof of the vehicles coming and going.

City leaders say the mobility of the cameras is also a big plus.

"It's very transportable and people are going to be surprised when they see them," Medrano said.

For residents like Alice Jiminez, the cameras will be welcomed with open arms.

"I think that's a wonderful thing that they're doing. That way they can find who actually is doing the dumping."
The illegal dumping problem is also a needless one, since Dallas residents can use the McCommas Bluff Landfill or transfer station for free and commercial vehicles are only charged a modest fee.

Fines for breaking the law can be costly; illegal dumping is a state jail felony.

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