San Antonio tackling illegal dumping by funding more cleanup crews

More than $840,000 will establish the city’s second illegal dumping collection team.

SAN ANTONIO — While illegal dumping remains an ongoing problem across San Antonio, the city is allocating funds toward creating an additional crew for helping cleanup communities.   

“Illegal dumping is not only a nuisance, it’s a danger to the public,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. 

“A city the size of San Antonio, we definitely needed more resources geared to keeping the city clean,” said Andrew Gutierrez, who serves as assistant director of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department. 

The adopted FY 2023 of $3.4 billion budget includes more than $160 million for the Solid Waste Management Department. Over $840,000 will fund a second illegal dumping collection crew. 

“We have some hard-working men and women that come out here every day that are really passionate about keeping the city clean,” Gutierrez said.

The Solid Waste Management Department is responsible for serving about 372,000 single-family San Antonio households, providing a variety of services, including weekly curbside collection of residential trash and semi-annual collection of brush and bulky items. The department is mainly funded through fees collected on the electric bills of solid waste customers.  

“There’s so many opportunities for people to get rid of their unwanted waste. We provide four residential collections per year. We also sponsor free landfill day. We have our four drop offs that are located in each quadrant of the city – are free for our ratepayers,” Gutierrez said. 

In 2021, city crews cleaned up more than 250 homeless camps and collected litter spanning 150 miles. 

Gutierrez noted a residential area near J Street and Roland Road is one of several areas in San Antonio impacted by illegal dumping. Along with Nirenberg, who assisted with cleanup efforts Wednesday morning, Gutierrez urges the public to call 311 to report illegal dumping. 

“What I’ve learned throughout the years, illegal dumping attracts more illegal dumping so the sooner we can get it off the ground the sooner for us,” Gutierrez said.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’m ready to take one of these guys’ spots. It takes a lot more training than just that, but it does give you a sense of just the breadth that a crew like this has to do,” Nirenberg said.

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