ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Violating St. Louis City's trash ordinance can prove costly and time consuming. Several city landlords, maintenance workers and tenants are learning that the hard way.
Seven were charged last month with illegal dumping of trash in residential city trash dumpsters. They face a maximum five hundred dollar fine for each summons as well as forty hours of public service and three days in jail.
Laura Lynch of the 49-hundred block of Chippewa, her husband Richard Lynch and a co-worker were arrested for placing roofing shingles in the Lynchs’ residential dumpster. They wound up in jail overnight as authorities processed their case.
"I think it's unfair," Lynch said Friday. She has a court date in October and has yet to consult with an attorney. A city installed surveillance camera in the alley helped police identifies suspects.
St. Louis City is enforcing a no-tolerance approach to illegal dumping said St. Louis Police Sergeant Ron Hasty. "The city is spending three to four million dollars a year cleaning up garbage and bulk items abandoned in residential and commercial areas."
Sgt. Hasty said the city provides trash pickup services for residents and not for landlords. When evicting a tenant, Hasty advised landlords to take the property to second hand stores or a landfill.
Larry Duvall, a maintenance worker for a landlord, faces five summons and potentially $2500 in fines. He complains he is accused of placing trash in a dumpster his employer pays for that is serviced by a private trash hauler and not the city. But he did place some large bulk items near the city dumpster not knowing only residents could leave their personal discarded furniture or appliances for city pickup.
"It's kind of hard to believe they are charging us with something that even most of the lawyers don't even know that's the law," Duvall said. He's concerned he can't help elderly tenants anymore by carrying their household trash to the dumpster.
Both Lynch and Duvall were taken to jail last month and held overnight.
"It was very scary. I'm not used to the company I was keeping in the jail," said Lynch. Duvall questioned the cost of putting six of the seven arrested on city trash ordinance violations in jail overnight.
But Sgt. Hasty said it is common to keep suspects on summons overnight in jail and require them to post bond. "It helps insure they show up in court," Hasty said.
For information regarding the St. Louis City pickup of bulky items click here.
For regular trash collection information, click here.
The city will accept construction materials from residents once a month at one of its two trash transfer stations. For more information, click here.