Greensboro maintenance crews turn to technology to help stop illegal dumping

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro maintenance crews are turning to technology to help catch illegal dumpers in the act. Every week crews are left to clean up various items dropped off on the side of the roads like mattresses, bags of trash and yard debris.

“You wouldn’t want it in your front yard,” said James Steber, the division manager of right-of-way maintenance for Greensboro. “You wouldn’t want it in your backyard, so you want to get it clean and look clean.”

Keeping the city streets clean is Steber and his field crew’s goal.

He told FOX8 most of the illegal dumping happens in the middle of the night and on dead-end streets.

“Sometimes it’s a pattern,” he said. “They know to dump there and that’s where they’re going to dump.”

Steber monitors 10 different illegal dumping sites both on foot and with the help of surveillance cameras.

“If they know they’re on camera getting caught and have to pick it up or get a fine for it they’re less likely to do it,” Steber said.

Ten motion-sensing cameras are across the city to record the next person who illegally dumps.

“Try to capture them in the act of doing it,” he said. “The police want to see the person putting the stuff to the curb, try to get the vehicle.”

According to Greensboro police, 15 people were charged with littering in 2018. There were 16 people charged with the same crime in 2019 and 20 people in 2020. So far in 2021, four people have been charged for littering. Each charge includes a hefty fine and court appearance.

Steber told FOX8 it’s more than just trash on the side of the road.

“If somebody is coming into the city of Greensboro and wants to put a business here and it’s clean that’s a big plus.”

Steber and his crew will continue to clean the city one piece of trash at a time.

“The cleaner the location, the less likely if somebody coming down this road and go, oh it’s clean,” Steber said. “So they’ll go somewhere else or even take it to the dump.”

Steber recommends using the GSO Collects App or calling the city at 336-373-CITY (2489) to get overflow or bulky items disposed of properly.