‘It’s just embarrassing’: Residents in southwest Houston neighborhood call for illegal dumping to end

Residents of a neighborhood in southwest Houston said a vacant lot has become a popular place for illegal dumping, despite their many calls to the city of Houston.

“The city comes and picks it up, then people re-dump it, but this time it has lasted over three months and they tell me that they can’t pick up the tires, they can only pick up a portion of it,” said Alene Williams, who lives near the lot, and the trash, on Markwood Lane.

Williams said the city of Houston came out about a month ago but didn’t clear everything — a trashy dilemma that’s piled up, of late.

“We didn’t have this problem this bad last year. And it seems to be worse,” Williams said.

A spokesperson for the city’s Solid Waste Management Department confirmed its crews had been to the lot repeatedly over the past few months, and as recently as last month.

“After further investigation by our field supervisor, today, this pile is not an old pile and it reaches past the property line of service. We expect the property owner to take responsibility for this matter,” wrote Tyra Wilkins, public information officer for the city’s solid waste management department, in a statement to KPRC2.

But neighbors said the lot has been vacant for over a decade.

“It’s just embarrassing to have people come over and have to get out and see that or when you walk out you have to see that when you leave home,” Williams said.

The concern over illegal dumping in Houston’s neighborhoods has prompted a response from the Department of Justice, which launched an investigation into the city’s clean-up practices in the majority of communities of color.

Mayor Sylvester Turner has said the investigation is unwarranted because the city responds to residents’ complaints.

Neighbors said they see the problem and hope it’s resolved.

“In our areas because of the low income and the diseases and all the epidemics going along, they should keep us clean,” Williams said.

A spokesperson for the solid waste department said crews would return Wednesday to clean up what they can.

“We will send crews tomorrow to safely remove as much as they can without damaging equipment and without injury,” wrote Tyra Wilkins.