Community fed up with illegal dumping in their area

June 28, 2011 3:30:56 AM PDT
A piece of land in east Houston on Old Clinton Road near Lathrop has become an impromptu garbage dump because of constant illegal dumping. And that has neighbors upset and frustrated.

Business owners are fed up with people using their neighborhood as a dumping ground. To make matters worse, they're usually the ones who end up footing the bill for the cleanup.

This commercialized section of Denver Harbor on the city's east side may not be the prettiest.

"We always try to keep our area clean," Momentum Plastics' Gilbert Turrubiartes said.

Still, the people who work on Old Clinton Road say that's no excuse for litterbugs to treat it like a trash pit. Along the railroad tracks, we found discarded mattresses, tires, toys, furniture and piles of garbage.

Frustration there is mounting.

"Clients will come by or people will come by and say if they keep their street like that, imagine how their product is and it gives us a bad image, too," Turrubiartes said.

Turrubiartes has called police to complain and claims he's had no luck with the city's 3-1-1 hotline. He says his company has paid to clean up the mess not once, but several times. For every heap that's rounded up, another one mysteriously appears.

"We want to do our part to get out there and make owners accountable for cleaning up this mess and we do recognize there is an epidemic of illegal dumping," said Denise Thomas with the city of Houston's neighborhood services.

Thomas believes Union Pacific owns the property along the tracks and says it's the railroad's responsibility to keep it clean. Union Pacific has been hit with two nuisance violations in the past five years for failing to do so.

Deputy constables with Precinct 6 used to conduct undercover surveillance on a regular basis, but resources these days aren't what they used to be. Precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino is encouraging residents to be more proactive.

"Where they don't personally get involved, but just taking pictures of license plates of the individual suspects and we will definitely conduct an investigation and respond to it," Trevino said.

Turrubiartes has had a confrontation or two but has never been able to stop anyone. His message to anyone thinking about dumping their trash here again...

"Don't do it. It looks bad. It looks real bad," Turrubiartes said.

Neighborhood services is sending an inspector out there on Tuesday morning to take pictures and survey area to figure out who owns the property so they, in turn, can issue a nuisance violation. Union Pacific is also sending an engineer out to see if this property does, indeed, belong to the railroad.

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