COUNCILMEMBER PARKER ​INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE ENFORCEMENT OF AND INCREASE PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING

In Cherelle Parker, Council News, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA, May 5, 2022 – City Council Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) introduced an ordinance to amend Chapter 10-700 of The Philadelphia Code, titled “Refuse and Littering,” as it pertains to illegal dumping. The bill clarifies the definitions, terms, and conditions of dumping violations, while it also revises the penalties for illegal dumping.

Since the onset of the pandemic, neighborhoods across Philadelphia have seen an increase in illegal dumping. This has become a major nuisance that not only destroys the image of our neighborhoods but also damages the environment. In addition to being an eyesore, the waste affects our physical environment and the waterways by contaminating groundwater and soil.

The legislation allows for the increase of the potential total fine amount for illegal dumping violations. Currently, the potential fine for illegal dumping without using a vehicle is $2,000, the maximum for fines under state law. The potential fine for illegal dumping using a vehicle is $5,000, again the maximum allowed by state law. With this legislation, every single large item of debris, such as a tire, auto part, mattress, appliance, or bag of debris or trash with a capacity of more than 5 gallons, shall now be subject to a violation. For example, currently, if twenty tires are dumped using a vehicle, the total fine amount is $5,000. Under this legislation, the new fine amount could reach $100,000.

“We’re cracking down on people and companies who do not properly dispose of their trash,” said Councilmember Parker.” Not only is dumping an irresponsible business practice, but it’s also disrespectful to the community. The trash left behind is harmful, unsightly, and premeditated. This legislation makes every item within a single dump subject to a violation. Previously the entire dump was subject to one single violation.”

This ordinance was drafted in collaboration with the Streets Department and the Law Department, along with others in the administration. All parties came together to draft language that will assist the City with enforcement while also making the penalties for dumping as steep as possible.

“We have to have clean and clear streets in order to enjoy the natural environment around us,” states Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams. “The work of the Streets Department helps to keep Philadelphia beautiful. Dumping cannot be tolerated, and we co-authored this ordinance because dumping is unpredictable and drains department resources,”

What else does this legislation do? Property owners will also be subject to fines. They are legally responsible for removing debris and waste on their property. Failure to do so will result in penalties against the property owner as well. All debris is the responsibility of the owner to dispose of, including owners who engage another party to remove waste.

“I particularly want to thank the Streets Commissioner, for his leadership on this issue, as well as his team and others in the administration, for all their expertise and assistance with drafting this legislation,” states Parker. This is a quality-of-life issue addressed on page 8 of the Philadelphia Neighborhood Safety and Community Policing Plan which, among other things, calls for funding to address quality-of-life issues such as blight, graffiti, trash dumping, abandoned cars, potholes, tractor-trailers parked in residential neighborhoods, etc. Cracking down on illegal dumping and keeping streets clean will improve public safety and minimize criminal activity. Addressing this issue will also affirm residents’ faith in government.

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Councilmember and Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker proudly serves the Ninth Council District, which stretches through the northwest and northeast communities, including East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Olney, Lawncrest, Lawndale, Burholme, and Oxford Circle.

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