PITTSBURGH, PA (August 25, 2020) The Mayor’s Office and Department of Public Works (DPW) have proposed legislation that will permit Allegheny CleanWays to remove litter and illegally dumped materials from city-owned properties. This agreement would solidify an existing cooperative partnership between DPW and Allegheny CleanWays and will allow them to go onto city-owned property to remove debris, litter, and illegal dumping without having to obtain the city’s permission each time. The agreement between the City and Allegheny CleanWays will also formalize access to DPW’s Division yards for disposal of the collected debris.
Allegheny CleanWays is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging and empowering people to eliminate illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County. Since 2000, they have organized 14,124 volunteers for the removal of 30,569 tires and 1,727.3 tons of debris within city limits.
The agreement would allow Allegheny CleanWays to enhance the work of DPW’s Environmental Enforcement Coordinator and Anti-Litter Specialist, who are responsible for the management, investigation, clean up of illegal dumping and littering sites, and coordinating volunteer clean ups. This team has worked collaboratively with Allegheny CleanWays to identify over 900 sites where dumping on city-owned property and privately-owned property regularly occur.
“In our work on the seemingly unending problems of litter and illegal dumping, we know that Pittsburgh is uniquely reliant on volunteer efforts to keep our streets, alleys, lots, and waterways clean,” said Environmental Enforcement Coordinator Missy Rosenfeld. “All together these tasks can be such a huge undertaking that we are extremely grateful to have organizations like Allegheny CleanWays getting out there and doing the hard, necessary work that the City can sometimes struggle to keep up with.”
“People who illegally dump do not discriminate between privately-owned or publicly-owned property. When privately owned, getting the owner’s permission to clean the site can be challenging,” said Anti-Litter Specialist Chris Mitchell. “Allowing Allegheny CleanWay’s sweeping access to all city-owned properties instead of seeking permission parcel by parcel will speed up the cleaning process.”
As part of the City's many-pronged approach to illegal dumping, plans are also underway to update City Code 601.11 language to better match what is seen in the field: construction and demolition waste, tires, TV’s, furniture, appliances, shopping carts, and more. The update will also include increasing the penalty when violators are caught.
“Illegal dump sites degrade the quality of life of the people who live near them; create significant risks to public health and safety; lower property values in communities where they exist; and decrease the overall environmental health of the community,” said Myrna Newman, Executive Director of Allegheny CleanWays. “Allegheny CleanWays has been cleaning up illegal dump sites in Pittsburgh for the past 20 years and we are eager to formalize an agreement with the city to continue this vital work.”
Earlier this year, Pittsburgh participated in a study by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to quantify the costs of litter and illegal dumping for nine cities State-wide. The cities studied collectively spend more than $68 million annually on cleanup, education, enforcement, and prevention efforts.
The legislation for this agreement will be presented to City Council today for consideration.
More on the City’s anti-litter initiatives and resident empowerment can be found at https://pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/litter-dumping. More on Allegheny CleanWays can be found at www.AlleghenyCleanWays.org.