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Environmental Crimes Unit is cleaning up DC one illegal dump at a time

Environmental Crimes Unit is cleaning up DC one illegal dump at a time. (Scott Taylor/ABC7)

The I-Team takes you into the rotting under belly of Washington.

Richard Everett who lives in the District tells the I-Team "It's bad. It's bad. Everywhere you go."

Patricia Howard-Chittams who’s part of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission says "The illegal dumping is a major issue in this area."

DC Police Department's Environmental Crime Unit is fighting back.

ECU is a special Task Force laser focused into cleaning up the District one illegal dump at a time and I-Team Investigator Scott Taylor is riding along with the Unit.

DC Police Officer Matt Jones who’s with ECU says "I want to give you a heads up though. Thankfully it's still early but where we are going is not a safe area right now.”

Under a bridge on Benning Road an illegal dumping of used tires.

DC Police Officer Robert Underwood who’s also with the ECU adds "This would be a felony arrest if we caught up with the people."

All this rubber helping to conceal heroin users at night and needles all over the ground.

DC Department of Public Works Investigator Nathaniel Mines who is part of the Environmental Crimes Unit says "All our cameras are motion sensitive. They're day and night cameras."

Officers work with DC Public Work Investigators using high tech surveillance to catch suspects breaking the law.

Officer Jones in an alley says "We have a no dumping sign right there."

New illegal dumping signs posted right in your face but offenders pay little attention. If caught fines can reach $40,000.

ECU has been very busy this week. It's not just their job to locate where these dumps happen but it's also their job to track down the people who are doing it. So far this week, five arrests.

ECU spots a vehicle that is suspected of being used in connection with illegal dumping.

Officer Jones "You are not under arrest yet. We are going to make sure you don't have any warrants and then we are going to go on from there."

The driver is arrested for not having a valid license.

Officer Jones pops his trunk hood and puts some papers in his trunk and says "That's evidence."

Minutes later the ECU discovers this huge pile of trash dumped in an unsuspecting home owner's drive way is connected with a 2nd illegal dump blocks away.

DC Police Officer Richard Willis with the ECU says "Not only did our cameras catch the dumping, we found mail matter."

ECU tells the I-Team many of these illegal dumps are connected and the suspects live in the same neighborhood. A single piece of trash can be the key to an arrest.

Officer Underwood says "It would make anyone angry to see this. This is Washington D.C. This is the Nation's Capital."

Here's how you can help. Call 311 if you spot garbage that's not in a proper container or trash that isn't located at right collection pick up spot. Remember... it's an illegal dump if piles of garbage are discovered on a vacant lot or public property.

Clidk here for more information on illegal dumping in DC.

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