- In late 2015, San Jose, CA funded and initiated a cleanup of illegal dumping grounds covering six areas identified earlier in a pilot, mostly downtown. The cleanup sites had 1,061 points of collection comprised of about 60% trash, 30% shopping carts, and 10% hazardous materials, according to Rick Gosalvez, local government market manager for Trimble Geospatial Solutions whose technology is helping to address the issue, as reported in Waste360.
- The city collaborated with San Jose State University and neighborhood developer CommUniverCity on the project and chose technology from data tech company Trimble to gather information about dumping patterns. The city plans to reassess this month to determine whether dumping has decreased, and ways to enlist the community to turn the problem around altogether.
- The technology documents waste type, such as hazardous material or electronics, and identifies dump sites to support haulers in their job. The app works on mobile devices and computers in the field and office, improving efficiency, communication, and enabling data sharing.
Illegal dumping, mainly of bulky items, is a problem through much of California, costing local governments tens of millions of dollars annually and coming with a price for private property owners too. In San Jose, the cleanup was in part motivated by the recent Super Bowl as the city became a main attraction nationwide.
But the focus was only on the Super Bowl in the short term. The problem and plans to resolve illegal dumping are long-term focuses as the city has seen a 75% increase in illegal dumping in recent years.
It is hoped that the project will not only help the city and haulers figure out how to handle the massive mounds of bulky refuse, but that the community will become engaged too. Among features of the technology are pictures and maps of communities to serve as catalysts to conversation about what is going on, Gosalvez says.