City of St. Louis Environmental Investigation Unit Issues Record Number of Citations for Illegal Dumping, Strengthens Camera System with American Rescue Plan Funds

The EIU - with the Police Department, the Streets Department, City Counselor, and Neighborhood Stabilization Team - issued 818 charges.

March 29, 2023 | 2 min reading time

Today, the City of St. Louis’ Environmental Investigation Unit (EIU) announced a record number of citations issued for illegal dumping across St. Louis in 2022. The work of the EIU - in collaboration between the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the Streets Department, City Counselor, and Neighborhood Stabilization Team - issued 678 summonses for a total of 818 charges.

“Illegal dumping makes our streets and alleys unsafe and unsanitary for residents,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “The EIU, in partnership with City departments, issued a record number of charges in 2022 against those harming our neighborhoods. I am grateful to the City employees who are working to protect our communities and hold illegal dumpers accountable.”

EIU uses a variety of methods to investigate illegal dumping in our communities, from interviews with witnesses to tracking through a network of alleyway cameras. The unit recently completed a pilot program of new cameras with an expansion funded through $1 million from the American Rescue Plan passed in Board Bill 184, the St. Louis Infrastructure Plan.

“Our neighborhoods are not dumping grounds, and we’re making sure illegal dumpers know it,” said Detective Rick Zermuehlen, EIU. “With the help of City officials and many observant residents, we’ll continue to hold people responsible for dumping in our streets and alleys.”

In 2022, the Municipal Courts assessed more than $192,000 in fines for illegal dumpers, a 137 percent increase over 2020. More than half of those cited - 388 of 678 - do not have a City of St. Louis address. The current 22nd, 1st, and 4th wards accounted for the most illegal dumping summonses, respectively. Many charged with illegal dumping faced additional charges such as Prohibited Use of a Refuse Container, Accumulation of Rubbish, No Commercial Container, and Unlawful Disposal of Waste Tires.

The maximum fine for illegal dumping was increased from $500 to $1,000 following the passage of Prop F during the November 2022 General election. City residents witnessing illegal dumping as it occurs can call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s non-emergency line at (314) 231-1212 and ask for the Trash Task Force to file a report. For debris and other items discovered in the alleys, residents can report to the Citizens Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800 or online via the City’s website.

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