Gulfport Targets Illegal Dump Sites

The City of Gulfport is cracking down on illegal dump sites.

Work crews began the clean up by targeting a big mess just east of Highway 49. Taylor Street in North Gulfport has been a dumping grounds for years. But the city says it won't be tolerated any longer.

Old gas tanks are just part of the automotive debris scattered along Taylor Street. Hundreds of tires and a pile of bumpers are also included in the mess. The illegal dump is not your typical residential trash pile.

"These are commercial folks for the most part. Contractors, tire shops, automotive body shops, the folks that are dumping here because they don't want to pay to get rid of their waste so they don't want to carry it off," explained city spokesman, Steve Dickerson.

A giant steel claw collects big chunks. Most of the mess will be taken to a legitimate landfill. The tires will be recycled.

"There's two places where people will dump regularly. One where they think they're invisible, where they think no one sees them dump. And two in a location they think we'll tolerate it," said Dickerson.

Dwight McNair is part of the city clean up crew. He also has a more personal stake in the project. He grew up in this North Gulfport neighborhood.

"Oh yeah, it's quite a mess. But you know it's just people find this spot is safe and a laid back spot where they can dump and get away with it. But they plan to do something about it. That's why we're here cleaning it up," said McNair.

Once this clean up is complete, there's a real concern that this trash and these tires could return tomorrow. That's why the city is asking the public's help in this ongoing clean up project.

"They'll absolutely return tomorrow if we don't continue to follow up. And again that takes a renewed effort from the city and from the neighborhood to help us catch the folks. The police can't be everywhere all the time," said Dickerson.

A partnership between the city and the public means a better chance of keeping Taylor Street clean.