Illegal dumping on the rise in Bernalillo County during pandemic

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Illegal dumping is becoming a big problem in Bernalillo County during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also changing the way cleaning crews respond.

The county said the uptick in illegal dumping could be happening because people are cleaning out their homes during the stay-at-home order and aren’t taking the trip to the dump. Officials with the county said illegal dumping has been a growing concern over the past couple of years, especially during the springtime. But they said they’ve actually received double the number of calls for service from this time last year.

It’s happening throughout the county’s open spaces, rural lands, and even populated areas like cul de sacs. They said they’ve even had to clean up big items like tires, mattresses, home appliances, cars, and much more. The county’s health protection manager said it’s a public health problem.

“It pollutes our groundwater, it’s a hazard to the air, sometimes tires get lit on fire that becomes a problem, becomes a hazard to the people who have to clean it up because there’s a lot of unknowns in that material,” said Lucas Tafoya.

He said crews will actually wait a couple of days before they clean up the reported messes in case there are traces of coronavirus on the material they’re cleaning. Illegal dumping comes with a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail. 

People can instead drop off their items at any of the four solid waste convenience centers in the county listed below: 

•       South Side (Montessa Park), 512 Los Picaros Rd NW, 505-873-6607

•       West Side (Don Reservoir), 117 114th Street SW, 505-836-8757

•       North Side (Eagle Rock), 6301 Eagle Rock Rd NE, 505-857-2918

•       East Side (East Mountain Transfer Station), 505-281-9110

For abandoned cars, contact Bernalillo County Zoning at 505-314-0350. In the City of Albuquerque, contact code enforcement at 505-924-3850.

Large item pick-up, appliances, furniture, etc., is free to county residents by calling Waste Management at 505-892-1200. Residents should call one week before their scheduled pick-up day. City of Albuquerque residents can call 311. To report illegal dumping along irrigation ditches, contact the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy Districts at 505-247-0234.

Household hazardous waste including paint, pesticides, cleaning solvents, batteries, etc. can be dropped off for free at Advanced Chemical Transport, 6133 Edith Blvd NE, 505-345-1650 or 505-998-4154.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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