SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's industrial areas have long been dumping grounds. City Attorney Dennis Herrera hopes a lawsuit he filed in Superior Court Tuesday will send a message to companies and individuals. The lawsuit charges two companies and their owners with illegally dumping more than 100 tons of roofing material and construction debris on public property in the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood.
The suit says at least 10 violations occurred from September of last year to January of this year. Herrera says witnesses came forward to report the dumping and some material, including cell phones, helped investigators track the crime to the New High Protection Roofing Company and Salvador Trucking Service. The two businesses are next door to each other in the Bayview and Herrea believes they worked in tandem. They could now face fines and penalties of more than $500,000 as a result of the civil lawsuit.
"We were able to track back to the roofing company and the trucking company," Herrera said.
ABC7 caught up with Salvador Gonzalez, owner of the trucking firm, and he adamantly denies any wrongdoing and added he hauls his debris to a dump in Half Moon Bay.
"I have all my permits. I have all my receipts for throwing away garbage." he said.
Hector Santa Maria is the owner of New High Protection Roofing. Through a translator, he said he just found out a few hours ago about the lawsuit and denied any wrongdoing. He also said that the Third Street area is very popular for illegal dumping and that most of it is done at night.
"I don't have a need to dump garbage because we have a big warehouse and I'd only be saving $200," he said.
Santa Maria also said that the area has been inspected for illegal dumping since November.
"Twenty million pounds of garbage we pick up off the streets of San Francisco every year -- 20 million pounds. We spend $4 million worth of taxpayer dollars," Ed Reiskin from the San Francisco Department of Public Works said.
Supervisor Malia Cohen represents the Bayview neighborhood and said her constituents are tired of being dumped on. At Tuesday's Board of Supervisors' meeting, she introduced legislation to strengthen the municipal code to provide another tool for investigators to use in addition to state law.
"To make it more robust so we can have another tool to go after and prosecute violators," she said.
If you spot dumping, city officials say call 311.