Department of Sanitation - New York City
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Department of Sanitation - New York City Department of Sanitation - New York City


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Illegal Dumping Award Program


According to Section I6-119 of The Administrative Code of The City of New York:
It is unlawful for any person, their agent, employee, or any person under their control to suffer or permit any dirt, sand, gravel, clay, stone, rocks, rubbish, building rubbish, sawdust, shavings or trade or household waste, refuse, ashes, manure, garbage, rubbish or debris of any sort, or any other organic or nonorganic material, or other offensive matter being transported in a dump truck or other vehicle to be dumped, deposited or otherwise disposed of in or upon any street, lot, park, public place or other area whether publicly or privately owned.

Both owner and driver of the vehicle are liable for dumping. Fines for the owner of the vehicle range from $1,500 to $20,000. In instances where owner and operator are different, the maximum fine can go up to $40,000. In citizen complaint cases, a summons is generally issued to the registered owner of the reported vehicle.

Where information furnished by an individual to the Sanitation Department has resulted in a fine or civil penalty for unlawful dumping, at the discretion of the Sanitation Commissioner, 50% of the amount collected shall be offered as a reward to said individual.


  • Observe the vehicle:
    • Do not make your presence known;
    • Do not touch the material dumped;
    • Report the vehicles, not the individuals.
  • Record vital information:
    • License plate number;
    • Vehicle description;
    • Nature and quantity of material dumped; and
    • Time, date and location of the occurrence.
  • File a citizen complaint form with the Sanitation Police.
NOTE: Employees of the Department of Sanitation, the Environmental Control Board and NYC Peace Officers are not eligible for a reward.


You can print the Complaint Form (49KB) by using the Adobe Reader or request that a printed copy mailed to you by using Literature Request or by calling the New York City Customer Service Center at 3-1-1.


Top Section

Print or type the county, your full name and complete address, employer, telephone numbers, particularly the one where you can be reached during the day, (if under 18 age and date of birth), time and date of incident.

Mid Section

An estimate of the quantity of material dumped, type of material dumped, location and borough where material was dumped, license plate number and state, vehicle description (include make, model, color, type, and size), logo or name of owner if printed on the vehicle.

Bottom Section

Illegal dumping cases are heard at Environmental Control Board (ECB) offices. ECB hearing locations:

66 John Street233 Schermerhorn St., 11th Fl.144-06 94th Avenue
NY, NY 10038Brooklyn. NY 11201Jamaica, NY 11435
(212) 361-1400(718) 858-1005(718) 298-7300

You may request a hearing location and time by filling out Item #8.

If action can be taken, you will receive a letter notifying you of the date and time for your appearance in ECB court.

If you are readily available by telephone and can guarantee your appearance in court within 2 hours of being called, you can request telephone standby status by checking and signing Item #9. This is only available for 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 1:00 PM appearance times, ECB allows a 2 hour grace period from the scheduled appearance time. Therefore, you will need to standby for the call for up to 2 hours after the noted time. If the respondent arrives after this or at a different time, you will still receive a call. If you can still appear, the case will go forward. If you cannot, the case will be rescheduled.

Sign form in front of Notary Public.

* Please Note: Review the form for accuracy and completeness and forward it to:

Director of Enforcement
NYC Department of Sanitation
1824 Shore Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11214


  • In a few weeks you will be notified by mail of the status of the complaint.
  • If no action was taken, you'll get the reasons why not.
  • If action was taken, the owner of the vehicle observed (the respondent) will be served with a Notice of Violation.
  • If the respondent appears and pleads guilty and pays the fine, you'll receive your reward fairly quickly.
  • If the respondent pleads guilty and the case goes for collection. Any reward would then be paid after the fine is collected.
  • If the respondent pleads not guilty, you, as the complainant, will be required to testify at the Environmental Control Board hearing.
You cannot receive your reward until the alleged illegal dumper is found guilty or defaults and the fine is paid, which may take several months.


What Is The Environmental Control Board?

The Environmental Control Board is a court that holds hearings on violations of the City's Administrative Code, City rules, the Health Code, the Vehicle and Traffic Law relating to abandoned vehicles, the Environmental Conservation Law relating to lead-acid batteries, and several other laws. As a court, ECB is independent of those agencies which enforce the various sections of law and issue notices of violation. As a result, ECB does not employ inspectors or issuing agents, does not issue notices of violation, and does not establish the enforcement policy for those agencies which issue the notices.

What Happens When I Fill Out A Citizen Complaint Affidavit?

The citizen complaint affidavit for illegal dumping represents the eyewitness account of a private citizen who sees an illegal activity taking place. Once such a complaint is made, the Department of Sanitation issues a Notice of Violation to the vehicle owner based on the complaint. Normally, a Notice of Violation issued by an agent of the Department of Sanitation is considered evidence that a violation has been committed, throwing the burden of disproving the violation on the person to whom the ticket is issued (also called the "respondent"). For tickets issued in response to a citizen complaint affidavit, however, the burden rests on the citizen complainant to "make the case" for the department. In other words, the citizen must appear at a hearing and testify under oath as to what he or she saw to establish that the activity the respondent engaged in violated the Code.

What Should I Expect When I Come In For A Hearing Before The Environmental Control Board?

The citizen complainant should go to the reception window and sign in. The case will not be presented to a hearing officer, however, until the respondent appears. If you have opted for telephone standby status, ECB will call you when the respondent appears. If the respondent fails to appear for the hearing, the case goes into default and the respondent is hit with significant default civil penalties.

As in other US Courts the ECB default order does not become final for a period of time, in ECB's case, 30 days. During that time the respondent has the opportunity to request a stay of the default order and a hearing on the merits of the case. If such a request is made, the case is rescheduled and the citizen complainant will be notified of the time and place of the rescheduled hearing. The burden then rests on the citizen complainant to appear and establish the case for the Department of Sanitation. While this process seems to unnecessarily burden a citizen complainant the US Constitution mandates that a party being charged with a violation receive due process of law.

After A Respondent Is Found In Violation Or Default When Can I Expect Payment?

Under the Administrative Code, a bounty is paid only on monies collected from the respondent. ECB engages in numerous collection activities to ensure that payment is made, including dunning letters, docketing the case in New York City Civil Court, using the City Sheriff, and other collection techniques. You should expect to see your payment six to eight weeks after the penalty is collected.

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