Local governments work to combat illegal dumping spike amidst population growth

New Mexico

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – People in Carlsbad are fed up with the lawbreakers who keep dumping trash, and they want something done about it. “It has gotten worse. Like, it’s gotten bad,” said resident Yvonne Armendarez.

Armendarez lives on Hill Street on the south side of Carlsbad. She says for the past couple years, trash and cars have been consistently left at the end of the street, and strange people in and out daily.

“Licenses coming from Texas, licenses coming from Alabama, licenses coming from Oklahoma,” said Armendarez. “They tell us, ‘Well, it’s not our issue, it’s a county issue. We try to get ahold of the county, ‘Oh no, it’s not our issue, it’s the city’s issue.’ So who is it?”

Some who live on the street say they’re even scared for their safety at times. That’s because of their concerns of illegal activities going on with traffic throughout the night, especially on Fridays.

“There’s kids going to school to where the parents have to drive them to the bus stop,” said Armendarez.

The county says it is working to clean it up, and wants residents to know it has heard them, but with only two code enforcement officers for the entire county, it’s hard.

The city says it’s also working to address its own illegal dumping issues. City property, including that around Lower Tansill Dam, is also a problem area as seen in drone footage taken by a resident in January.

Those representing the city also say keeping up with the messes is a challenge. They say they’re seeing a spike in more trash with the oilfield-induced population growth.

“Since it’s a transient population that we’re dealing with, they move to another area, and then from there we can get an area cleaned up…and then they tend to [migrate] back to where they were to begin with,” said Mary Garwood with Keep Carlsbad Beautiful.

That brings little comfort to those who have to live next to it. Armendarez says the mayor has come out before, but the answer she gets is no longer satisfying.

“‘We’ll take a look at it.’ I’m tired of getting, ‘We’ll take a look at it,’ and no action is done.”

KRQE News 13 is also told Keep Carlsbad Beautiful is working to form a group that meets regularly, made up of city councilors, county commissioners, and administration to fight this.

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