To keep defendants from claiming the city hadn't made them aware of disposal options, the city's ordinance includes a “presumption of ownership” clause: If an envelope or correspondence with address information is found in the trash, the city assumes the garbage came from that address. The ordinance also gives Denbowski the power to issue citations.
Even if a community has an ordinance against illegal dumping, Denbowski recommends notifying the state after apprehending an offender. A violator may be wanted on other charges, or perhaps sued in civil court on different charges.
Because residents are a community's best enforcement tool, Denbowski publicizes arrests and convictions by sending press releases to local media. “Residents want clean neighborhoods, so they're becoming more cooperative,” says Denbowski's boss, Public Works Director Charles Jones, PE.
In July, Denbowski's crews began collecting up to 12 tires/household for no charge; and “we've seen fewer tires in alleys,” he says. That effort, combined with a county toll-free, anonymous hotline that rewards callers up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest, is going a long way toward removing eyesores around one of Pennsylvania's largest cities.