City of Oakland Ramps Up Illegal Dumping Services as Staff, Partners Step Up to Tackle Backlog of Dumped-On Streets & Sidewalks

Date Posted: May 21st, 2020 @ 8:24 AM
Last Updated: May 21st, 2020 @ 8:27 AM
Oaktown PROUD Logo

Oakland, CA – Oakland Public Works (OPW) announced today that after several weeks of diminished capacity to clean Oakland’s streets and sidewalks, the department is restoring and reinforcing clean-up work with new support and returning staff. The City asks that community members help identify new or returned hot-spot areas by continuing to report illegal dumping to OAK311, and make full use of available trash services as part of the ongoing Oaktown PROUD community campaign to reduce illegal dumping in Oakland.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, OPW staffing had been reduced to as little as 30% capacity in recent weeks, and has now been restored to nearly 100% capacity; crews are hard at work every day tackling a significant backlog of dumping across Oakland. One indication of the crews’ hard work comes from completed “work orders” created to respond to individual residents’ service requests. On May 6 alone, crews completed 291 work orders to clean up individual dumping sites or piles – setting a new City record! For context, in recent weeks “open” (incomplete) work orders have seen a growing backlog:


Open Work Orders at the Start of a Sample Shift

Thursday (3/19)


Thursday (3/26)


Thursday (4/2)


Thursday (4/9)


Thursday (4/16)


Thursday (4/23)


Thursday (4/30)


Thursday (5/7)


Thursday (5/14)


OPW completed more than 30,000 illegal dumping work orders last year. This is more than double numbers from just a few years ago.

Additionally, OPW is partnering with Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. (WMAC) to provide additional illegal dumping cleanup support. WMAC will be providing increased illegal dumping services during the shelter in place by adding more trucks dedicated to illegal dumping cleanup. Effective this week, WMAC will provide four packer trucks, four drivers and eight additional workers working Monday through Friday to help clean up dumping under City direction.

These efforts will supplement staff cleanup assignments to both respond to complaints and proactively clean up known hot spots as part of the proactive Garbage Blitz Crew program OPW piloted in 2018 and expanded in 2019. There are now three OPW Garbage Blitz crews tasked with proactive pickups. The WMAC crews will focus in the area with the highest number of requests for service: Embarcadero to West Grand Ave. and Wood St. to MLK Jr. Way – known as Zone 1 (of a total of four zones – allowing the City to dedicate one OPW Garbage Blitz Crew to each of the other zones).

The City has instructed Waste Management to service Zone 1 in the same fashion that the City’s Garbage Blitz Crew proactively removes illegal dumping at main thoroughfares, hot spots, and block by block.

Under normal circumstances, among the key data points the City uses to better understand and tackle the illegal dumping problem are those found in community-generated service requests – calls that residents make to OAK311, or complaints they report online or through the free OAK311 mobile app. The data regarding illegal dumping in Oakland during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult to draw conclusions from: calls from community members requesting maintenance service are significantly down in several categories, including illegal dumping. This could reflect that with most residents following the Alameda County Health Department shelter-in-place order, less dumping in the right-of-way is occurring, or residents are encountering it less often. But it could also simply mean that, with COVID-19 causing twin crises in public health and the local economy, reporting illegal dumping has simply not been at the top of residents’ priorities.

Whatever the reason, OPW has recently seen an uptick in community and elected leaders reporting increased dumping problems in their neighborhoods, and OPW is responding. As OPW ramps up work to respond to these issues, we still need residents’ participation! We encourage all Oakland residents and businesses to #BeOaktownPROUD by participating in the Oaktown PROUD campaign – by encouraging their neighbors to practice sanitary and safe trash disposal, making sure they have adequate trash service at their homes and places of business, using affordable waste services such as the new and temporary Bulky Drop Off service, and reporting illegal dumping to OAK311 by:

  • Dialing 311 or 510-615-5566
  • Reporting online at
  • Emailing
  • Using the free OAK311 mobile app for Apple and Android devices

Media Contact

Reporting to OAK311:

  • Dialing 311 or 510-615-5566
  • Reporting online at
  • Emailing
  • Using the free OAK311 mobile app for Apple and Android devices

For media:

Sean Maher

Oakland Public Works

Public Information Officer

(510) 238-6358 desk

(510) 473-2610 cell