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San Jose Service To Pick Up Illegally Dumped Trash Getting Abused

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Crews in San Jose are getting overwhelmed by requests to clean up illegally dumped trash, city officials said Tuesday.

Ever since the city launched an app and website that made it easier to report illegal dumping, San Jose has struggled to keep up with the demand.

"The number of requests for illegal dumping response has tripled. The gap between our ability to respond and the requests has grown," said Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Illegal dumping hot spots are located all over the city.  On some streets, it looks like people are just backing up their pickup trucks to unload their trash.

"A lot of people just throwing out their garbage, like if it's nothing.  Mattresses.  It's so disgusting, like you don't even want to walk your kids around here," said Raquel Caballos, who lives on Santa Rita Drive.

City cleanup crews, known as the Rapid Response Team, are busy trying to keep up with the reported illegal dumping.

Many of the requests for cleanup are now coming through the My San Jose app and website, which were launched as part of an initiative called Beautify SJ.

"It's clear that since the My San Jose app has launched, it's been a big success.  But we may be a victim of our own success," Liccardo said.

The mayor is calling for additional funding to expand the rapid response team in his upcoming budget.

But some are concerned that people could be abusing the system by dumping for free on the streets, knowing that the city will clean it up.

Raquel Caballos said she's seen it on her street.

"Across the street from our home, the lady just dumps her garbage out there. And we have to see it.  It makes us look like dirty people too even though it's not our home," Caballos said.

Besides adding staff and dump trucks for cleanup, San Jose could also be adding Spanish and Vietnamese versions of the app and expand outreach to volunteers to help clean up the trash.

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