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City looks to crack down on illegal dumpers

From mattresses leaning against a park Dumpster to a refrigerator left at a public school after dark —- the city of Las Vegas has seen it all.

It wants residents to know that disposing of items in such places is illegal.

Jeff Dix, utility and recycling coordinator for the city of Las Vegas, said the dumping soared when the housing boom was in full form. The foreclosure debacle also saw a surge in dumped items as people moved out or left town.

It has tapered off, he said, but also has left the city holding the bag, or in this case, large garbage items.

“When somebody’s trying to get rid of something, if somebody doesn’t want to pay for mattress removal or if they don’t want to take in tires to the tire store, they’ll take it to the closest empty Dumpster that’s unattended,” he said. “If it’s left behind, they know it’ll be taken care of.”

Summerlin-area resident Moonlight Tran walks her dog daily and said she has seen items from houses left at Buckskin Basin Park, 7350 Buckskin Ave. One time she said she saw old furniture being dumped off, and another time, it was landscape trash.

“I think it’s lack of education,” she said. “I think they don’t teach their children … they don’t look at it as community property, that it’s not part of ‘their’ place. I feel it’s part of my place. I feel that I’m part owner in those parks, so I want to keep them clean for me and my dog.”

Dumped items can also be found in ditches. Much of it is landscaping debris, the city reported. The cost of removing the items goes to the taxpayers. Sometimes, the dumping is the result of laziness.

“If you pay somebody to come trim your trees, the landscaper has a choice of either driving it up 28 miles north or finding a place close by (to dump the trimmings),” Dix said. “The place close by usually wins out.”

He recalled when a park was being built in the northwest valley about five years ago. As soon as the Dumpster enclosure was built, somebody began leaving trash inside it.

The debris included moving boxes with a name and address clearly written on them. The deputy city marshal’s office made an official visit to the home. The dumping ceased.

“Throwing your lunch bag or kids’ diapers in there, that’s no big deal,” Dix said. “We expect that. But to get rid of half your garage contents, that’s not right.”

How often does the city find household trash such as couches left at its facilities?

Not often, Dix said, but “it happens from time to time. Out of all the accounts we have —- about 150 —- we might get two or three instances per month.”

It happens citywide, he said.

To learn which items are acceptable in your normal trash pickup, visit republic
servicesvegas.com and click on “For Your Home,” then under “additional information,” click “what do we accept?”

The list is a quick reference and includes extra information if warranted. It was added to the site in response to a constant barrage of calls on how to dispose of unusual items.

Republic Services president Bob Coyle said the list was added after the company asked customer service representatives what questions they frequently receive.

“So we added it in 2005, right after I got here,” he said. “We didn’t have it before, and the (customer service representatives) didn’t know what we would and wouldn’t take. There are times when I have to stop and ask, ‘How do we handle this?’ “

Coyle said if residents click on refrigerators, they will see they are not accepted curbside but are accepted at transfer stations. If the refrigerator still has Freon in it, there is a charge of $35.

Coyle said there are two transfer stations where residents current on their bills can take large items without charge —- 315 W. Cheyenne Ave. and 560 Capehorn Drive in Henderson, near Sunset and Eastgate roads.

The Cheyenne Avenue station became operational in 1980 and the Henderson one in 2000. Each transfer trailer holds 140 cubic yards, or about three truckloads of neighborhood trash, and is taken to the landfill north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.

What does Coyle make of residents who leave large items near city Dumpsters?

“They’re basically illegal dumpers,” he said. “They’re violating the law. Most of that stuff, they can put out at the curb and have it picked up. If they live in an apartment complex, 90 percent of the apartment complexes provide containers … so they’re just people who don’t want to drive the extra five or six miles to a transfer station and don’t really care about the environment or anybody’s quality of life.”

To report illegal dumping in the city of Las Vegas, call 229-6615. To report incidents in Clark County, call 455-4191.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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