December 4, 2023
Seattle Public Utilities has launched a new program aimed at curbing illegal dumping in the city. A pilot program will use cameras.

The City of Seattle spent $1.7 million in 2022 to clean up illegal dumping. Because of this and its impact on the environment, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has launched a new program aimed at curbing illegal dumping in the city.
“We want to educate people about the problems with illegal dumping,” Lee Momon, SPU Clean City Division Director told MyNorthwest. “We want people to understand the impact. We would first issue a citation, but if it keeps happening, we might have to use fines and community service.”
The pilot program will use motion-activated cameras in West Seattle to see if they can deter people from dropping off their unwanted belongings.
The first camera in the SPU pilot is located in the 7100 block of Detroit Ave SW near SW Myrtle St. Signage at the location notifies the public of the camera.
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“We’re really pleased SPU is taking steps to curb illegal dumping,” said Marc Sherman, Vice-President at Pacific Plumbing Supply Company. “The camera near our business is a welcome addition, as illegal dumping is a serious problem and safety concern for our staff and customers.”
SPU anticipates deploying at least one more camera on city-owned land, with a high frequency of illegal dumping, by the end of the year.
Photos will be transferred from the camera into a secured file. Photos will be deleted and/or redacted to protect the privacy of those not involved in illegal dumping.
“This pilot reflects several of our key priorities – focusing on fairness and accountability, creating efficiencies, responsibly using technology, and improving our city for all residents,” said Chief Operating Officer Marco Lowe.
Lowe said the city will monitor outcomes to make adjustments and improve service.
Last year, almost 2 million pounds of illegally disposed garbage was collected.
“When items like TVs, computers, furniture, tires, construction debris, yard waste, solvents, and other potentially hazardous liquids are dumped on roadsides, streets, and alleys, it affects all of us,” said Momon. “It burdens taxpayers and neighbors and creates unsafe, unhealthy, and unsightly conditions for the community.”
Click here for more information on SPU Transfer Stations where items can be dropped off for a fee.
The community can help the utility by reporting illegal dumping using the Find It, Fix It mobile app. They can also call (206) 684-7587 to report problems on public property. For language interpretation, call (206) 684-3000.