City of Tampa to form environmental taskforce to target, prosecute illegal dumping violators

Five inspectors are to work with Tampa Police

TAMPA, Fla. — City of Tampa Code Enforcement is looking to form an environmental enforcement unit that's going to work with the Tampa Police Department, starting at the beginning of January.

It will consist of five inspectors, each trained to gather evidence, better targeting and prosecuting offenders, said Sal Ruggiero, head of City of Tampa Code Enforcement.

"We're going to go after illegal dumpers pretty seriously,"  Ruggiero said. "From a health and sanitary standpoint from the city, it's a huge issue. Especially on the east side of the city where people are just coming in and dumping whatever." 

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For Ulysess Carwise, an East Tampa resident, the taskforce is a huge relief. An empty lot near his yard has been turned into an unofficial garbage dump.

"Carpet, mattress, tires, what you see in there," Carwise said. "That's what they do."

Through the use of hidden cameras at some of the worst trouble spots as well as other methods, the hope is to help eliminate more illegal dumping across the city.

Violators can be forced to do community service cleaning up litter, receive fines, get a penalty of three points on the violator's driver's license or even face felony charges in some cases. 

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