CITY HALL — The penalty for using city streets, sidewalks and vacant lots as your personal dump would soar 757 percent under a measure backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The measure — set to be considered next month by the City Council — also would expand the city's network of surveillance cameras to catch those who dump their waste on the fly.
If approved, the fly-dumping ordinance would hike fines from a maximum of $3,500 for repeat violators to $30,000 for large quantities of illegally dumped garbage. Those who dump hazardous liquid waste could pay additional fines, officials said.
The effort is designed to ensure that Chicago is safe and free of pollution, Emanuel said.
"To those who have been using Chicago as their personal dump, we say: Dispose of your waste properly, or we will make sure you clean up your mess and pay the penalty," Emanuel said.
Large piles of construction waste attract rats and could allow mosquitoes with the West Nile virus to breed, officials said.
In 2016, city crews removed 32,000 tons — at a cost of $48 a ton — of waste from nearly 4,000 illegal dump sites, officials said.
"These cameras will make for another added efficiency to our taxpayers, by not only deterring the practice, but also providing a better way to apprehend and ticket offenders, as fly-dumping is historically done at night or in low-traffic areas," said Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams.