City Increases Penalties for Illegal Dumping as Part of Mayor Faulconer’s ‘Clean SD’ Initiative

FINES FROM $100 TO $1000 FOR DUMPING TRASH AND WASTE IN UNAUTHORIZED AREAS, POLICE TO INCREASE ENFORCEMENT TO KEEP NEIGHBORHOODS CLEAN

San Diego – As part of his “Clean SD” initiative to keep neighborhoods clean and safe, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today announced increased fines of up to $1,000 for any individuals found illegally dumping trash and other waste.

The new penalty structure went into effect March 6 and a dozen citations have already been issued for illegal dumping, which is one of the most reported complaints through the City’s “Get It Done” application. The Mayor’s “Clean SD” initiative is a citywide cleanup effort focused on removing trash and debris from neighborhood hotspots and the San Diego River.

“Everyone deserves to live in a clean and beautiful neighborhood and that’s why we’re focusing on removing trash dumped in public areas,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We will not allow people to trash our neighborhoods and this new fine structure will deliver stiff penalties to anybody who thinks dumping their garbage on the street corner is acceptable behavior.”

The San Diego Municipal Code authorizes enforcement officials to issue administrative citations for violations, using their discretion based on a newly revised Penalty Matrix (see below). Citations range from a warning to fines of between $100 and $1,000, and penalties can be issued multiple times for new or ongoing prior violations at the same property.

The previous process relied on pages of charts for Code Compliance Officers to interpret, and consisted of one or two Notices of Violation before assessing Administrative Fines. It often resulted in inconsistencies and delays in penalizing violators.

“The City’s Environmental Services Department is stepping up our code enforcement citations in support of the Mayor’s new initiative,” said Environmental Services Director Mario X. Sierra. “By taking a more aggressive approach to eliminate illegal dumping in San Diego neighborhoods and rights-of-way, this will support our efforts to keep San Diego streets clean and free of unwanted debris.”

In addition to increased fines, the San Diego Police Department has stepped up its patrols around known hotspots for illegal dumping. They have also installed cameras at two of the hotspots to help catch violators and are evaluating other locations.

“The Police Department works closely with other city departments as well as the community to help keep San Diego clean,” said Police Chief David Nisleit. “Officers will increase enforcement of illegal dumping areas based on complaints from the community. If you are caught illegally dumping, you will be held accountable for your actions.”

The “Clean SD” initiative conducts regular cleanups of problem areas, including three two-person crews from the Urban Corps that respond to reports of trash and other debris in public areas via the City’s “Get It Done” application. The City often receives reports of abandoned shopping carts, furniture left in an alley and tires along roadways.

Launched in May 2017, the “Clean SD” initiative includes City and Urban Corps crews that remove litter in nine hotspots in Ocean Beach, City Heights, San Ysidro, Logan Heights, Paradise Hills, Webster & Mount Hope, Mission and Pacific Beaches, Point Loma and South Bay – neighborhoods with a historically high level of illegal dumping activity. Crews have already removed more than 950 tons of debris, including:

· 470 tires

· 2890 mattresses and box springs

· 1120 shopping carts

· 150 appliances

Other “Clean SD” efforts include:

· Increased street sweeping in the East Village neighborhood

· Sanitizing sidewalks in downtown and other neighborhoods

· Prioritizing graffiti removal requests

· Organizing curbside cleanups that collected more than 100 tons of waste and debris from San Diego neighborhoods in 2017

· Holding the City’s annual cleanup event at SDCCU Stadium earlier this month – with more than 140 tons of waste and recyclables collected in a single day

Penalty Matrix:

Human Health / Environmental Impact and Compliance FactorsNumber of Prior Citations within 12 Month Period
01 23+
MinorLevel 1WarningWarning-$100$100-$250$250-$500
Level 2$100-$250$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000
Level 3$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000$1000
SignificantLevel 1Warning-$250$100-$250$250-$500$500-$750
Level 2$100-$500$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000
Level 3$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000$1000
MajorLevel 1$100-$250$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000
Level 2$250-$500$500-$750$750-$1000$1000
Level 3$500-$1000$750-$1000$1000$1000

Note: Enforcement Officials will generally determine Citation penalty amounts in accordance with the above Penalty Matrix and the below Evaluation Criteria. However, an Enforcement Official may adjust a default penalty amount due to additional mitigating factors in a particular case.

Human Health / Environmental Impact Evaluation Criteria

MinorWaste-related violations which have a low probability of impacting human health or the environment.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

Small amounts of trash/waste/debris located on the premises, minor trash or recycling container violations, minor public right-of-way encroachment.

SignificantWaste-related violations which have a moderate probability of impacting human health or the environment.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

Moderate amounts of trash/waste/debris located on the premises, moderate trash or recycling container violations, moderate public right-of-way encroachment, franchisee collection outside permitted hours.

MajorWaste-related violations which have a high probability of impacting human health or the environment.

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

Major amounts of trash/waste/debris located on the premises, major public right-of-way encroachment, violations involving open and leaking oil/paint/other hazardous fluids or biohazardous materials.

Compliance Factor Evaluation Criteria

Level 1
  1. The violation was beyond the control of the responsible party (RP).
  2. The RP demonstrated diligent effort to be compliant.
Level 2
  1. The violation occurred despite some control by the RP over the consequences which resulted in the violation
  2. The RP demonstrated moderate effort to be compliant.
Level 3
  1. The violation occurred despite considerable control by the RP over the consequences which resulted in the violation
  2. The RP demonstrated little or no effort or willingness to be compliant.

Note: An Enforcement Official may, at their discretion, adjust the Compliance Factor Level upward one level (Level 1 to Level 2 or Level 2 to Level 3) if both Level criteria are not met. The Enforcement Official may also, at their discretion, adjust the Compliance Factor Level downward one level (Level 3 to Level 2 or Level 2 to Level 1) due to the RP’s compliance actions.

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