Dear PoP – Question about illegal dumping

“Dear PoP,

I’ve done some extensive landscaping over the last few weeks and have accumulated a lot of waste in the process. A neighborhood guy (lets call him “Alanzo”) who has mowed my lawn and hauled waste for me on several previous occasions offered to haul a recent load away for $100. Turns out, his truck contact fell through this time and rather than approaching me, he decided to illegally dump the waste yet graciously accept payment under the pretenses that the job had been completed. Of course, I didn’t learn of this until a few weeks ago, when a public works inspector dropped off a card with a note on the back instructing me to contact him regarding illegally dumped yard waste in a nearby alley. I immediately went to the dump location and determined that most (but not all) of the waste had originated from my yard. Wanting to rectify the situation immediately, I brokered a deal with a neighbor to dump the waste a his pull-away dumpster. The next day, I called the inspector and left him a voicemail explaining what had transpired. After a few days and no response, I contacted the inspector once more to no avail.

On Saturday, I was greeted with a certified letter from DC Public Works indicating that I had been charged with illegal dumping and fined $1000. I was livid. The inspector neglected to return my calls, yet decided to issue me the infraction despite my explanation and effort to resolve the issue. Clearly, if my intent was to illegally dump my waste less than a block from my property, I would have done so myself and saved the $100.

I’m wondering if either you our the PoP readers have any insight on how to move forward. On the infraction notice, it indicates that I have the option to deny, admit, or admit with written explanation. I’ve got nothing to hide, but at the same time, I don’t want to be screwed by the DC government. Any/all advice would be much appreciated.”

Wow, this sounds especially painful since you went out of your way to do the right thing. Illegal dumping is a frustrating experience for many in our neighborhoods.

Do you think the DC Public Works department is being fair? If not, do you think there is anyway to get the fine rescinded? I’m thinking you should definitely contact your Council Member but I suspect this is going to be very frustrating experience.

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