SNOW HILL – Worcester County is moving closer to installing cameras at local recycling centers to prevent illegal dumping.
The Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to explore pricing associated with placing surveillance cameras at recycling drop-off locations in Bishopville, Whaleyville and at the Walmart in Berlin. The stepped-up enforcement plan comes in the wake of last year’s Keep Worcester Clean advertising initiative.
“I believe the cameras would be a better solution than what we’ve undertaken this past year,” Commissioner Ted Elder said.
In 2019, the commissioners approved a three-pronged Keep Worcester Clean campaign to address illegal trash dumping at the county’s unmanned recycling centers and along county roads. The effort included an education campaign that was launched last year.
“We did both a billboard and commercial campaign which we thought went really well,” Public Information Officer Kim Moses said.
In addition to public service announcements, the county leased two billboards for 24 weeks at a cost of $11,900. The county also worked with D3Corp to develop some campaign materials at a cost of $2,470 and with WBOC/WRDE on 48 primetime commercials at a monthly cost of $2,028.
Along with the advertising, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of illegal dumping—21 illegal dumping incidents in 2019 and 25 in 2020. In all there were 22.12 tons of trash dumped illegally in 2019 and 21.77 tons of trash dumped illegally in 2020.
“We did have an overall reduction in the amount of dumping which took place in 2020,” Moses said. “It went down just a small amount, however, it actually increased substantially during the time period that we were running these commercials on television and on the internet.”
She said staff felt it would be more effective to put cameras up along with signs advising them of the presence of cameras. According to Moses a similar program has proven helpful in Wicomico County.
Elder, who suggested installing cameras when the issue of illegal dumping at the recycling centers first came up, agreed.
“I’d like to see a price put together to post cameras at these three sites especially,” he said, indicating Bishopville, Whaleyville and the Berlin Walmart
The commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with plans for installing cameras at the recycling drop-off sites.