San Pablo pilot program to enforce illegal dumping at multi-unit dwellings

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Photo credit: Mike Kinney

By Kathy Chouteau

The San Pablo City Council unanimously adopted a resolution at its Sept. 20 City Council Meeting approving a pilot program that aims to enforce illegal dumping at multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) in the city.

As part of the “Multi Unit Dwellings Illegal Dumping Enforcement Pilot Program,” beginning this winter, if illegal dumping is reported at MUDs, Code Enforcement staff will issue a 10-day notice to the property owner. If the violation is not corrected in that timeframe, Public Works will clear the violation and costs will be passed along to the property owner, per City Council documents. The property owner will have 30 days to pay the invoice, or risk a property tax roll/lien.

Amid programs administered by the city—dumpster days, curbside clean ups and bulky item collection among them—“litter and illegal dumping continues to be a major issue of concern in our community,” said City Manager Matt Rodriguez.

In July 2019, a Litter and Illegal Dumping Task Force consisting of various departmental staff was established by the city manager. In February 2020, the Task Force presented its Multiyear Citywide Policy Strategy, which recommended programs, outreach, infrastructure and enforcement as tactics for addressing illegal dumping. The City Council approved these recommendations for implementation in fiscal year 2020 and 2021.

Ultimately, Code Enforcement and Public Works staff identified MUDs as illegal dumping hot spots and proposed an enforcement pilot program in accordance with the Task Force’s recommendations, according to City Council documents.

The upcoming pilot program will employ outreach, enforcement and evaluation as its key strategies, Environmental Program Analyst Karineh Samkian said while presenting about the program at the Sept. 20 City Council meeting.

Outreach will occur in the form of staff mailing MUDs notification that the City will begin enforcing; offering staff assistance in right sizing their solid waste service; providing a brochure about the disposal services available to tenants; and offering one-day dumpster events to be paid for by a CalRecycle grant. Other general outreach will occur on Facebook, website, Enews and other City communication outlets.

Costs associated with funding the pilot program include approximately $240,000 for equipment including a new tink claw bucket for the exiting loader and for an electric truck; $50,000 for the hiring of two part-time staff to pick up the illegally dumped items for six months; and $10,000 for outreach costs, according to City Council documents. Plans are for City staff to apply for the next cycle of the Hybrid and Zero Emission Vehicle Incentive Program for the electric truck.

The San Pablo City Council appropriated $300,000 from General Fund Designated Reserves for Fiscal Year 2021-22 for the pilot program’s associated costs. Check out the City Council meeting here.