Illegal Dumping Assessment

Author: Galadriel Burr

For the past few months, CommUniverCity has been working with the City of San Jose to address the issue of illegal dumping in and around the downtown areas of San Jose. Due to resident concerns and City reports indicating a 75% increase in dumping over the past three years, the City of San Jose’s Environmental Services Department initiated a collaboration with CommUniverCity to better understand the problem and work with residents to design and implement solutions. In late December and early January, the baseline assessment was performed by SJSU students and faculty, City employees, and CommUniverCity staff. The data collection teams assessed each city street within the project area and documented incidents of illegal dumping. Photographs were taken, types of trash were recorded, and geographic coordinates were captured.


This past weekend the second round of assessments was completed. Teams again canvassed the project area, but this time with the added pleasure of a few community leaders riding along and assisting with the data collection. This new data will be mapped and compared with the initial assessment completed in early January.

In addition to the field assessments and data analysis, the City of San Jose and CommUniverCity are working with local residents to develop an outreach plan in an effort to stem the tide of illegal dumping.

A third round of assessments is scheduled for later this year.

For more information about the illegal dumping project, or to provide input on future outreach efforts regarding what information is needed and how best to reach residents of your neighborhood, please contact CommUniverCity Project Coordinator Galadriel Burr at



Key team leads Katherine Cushing, Jasan DeHaan, and Galadriel Burr have devoted their time and expertise to assess the community’s trash problem. Their work has been featured throughout the media in various publications.

merc trashRead about our pre and post-SuperBowl trash tackle in Mercury News: Tackling trash: City aims for illegal dumping before, after Super Bowl 50.



mapSee our geospatial map of cataloged trash featured in Government Technology: San Jose, Calif., Launches Innovative Geospatial Cleanup App to Prepare for Super Bowl 50.



BizWest has higlighted our story online in: Trimble helps clean up for Super Bowl 50.

Read about our Illegal Dumping assessment plan in Directions Magazine: Trimble TerraFlex helps San José ready for big game bash.

sb50Waste360 wrote about our efforts to tackle the trash before the big game: Geospatial Technology Scores Big in Super Bowl 50 Waste Cleanup.



ENVLDEnvironmental Leader featured our pre-game trash assessment: Super Bowl Waste Management Victory Goes to Geospatial Technology Read more: Super Bowl Waste Management Victory Goes to Geospatial Technology.


bottles 1Earth Imaging Journal featured our illegal dumping assessments in: San José Uses Geospatial Technology to Clean up Before the “Big Game”.


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