Editor's note: this article was updated to include the city of Hialeah’s response to the NBC 6 Investigation.
After seeing an NBC 6 Investigators report on a large section of a Hialeah road lined in discarded junk, Mayor Carlos Hernandez said Tuesday action would be taken eventually.
“…We’re in the process with the county of kind of getting started on that. But that dumping has been an issue we have enforced and we’re aware of it,” Hernandez said when asked what he was doing about the open-air dump along NW 107th Ave.
Photos: Hialeah Ignores Inquiries About Illegal Dump Plaguing Community
After being told the pile of trash is getting larger by the day, Hernandez said, “We understand and we’re not making excuses, but we’re in the process of trying to clean it up,” adding “this is not the first time we’ve had problems in that area.”
But when it came to setting a timetable, he mentioned “hopefully in the next couple months” when road construction begin in that area.
For years, that area has been a dumping ground, those who work nearby tell the NBC 6 Investigators.
Tires, used motor oil, concrete, yard and household waste – just about anything you would find at a county dump is lining the right of way on the east side of the roadway.
"The first one does a little dump, then the other guy dumps a few more pieces,” said business owner Osvaldo Maytin, adding the problem has persisted for years. "Once they see a big ol’ pile, they think it’s okay. Then everybody starts to dump and we end up with this again."
On the west side, which belongs to the city of Hialeah Gardens, the city and landowners cleaned up the site and blocked trucks from dumping there.
But not in Hialeah, which Maytin said, “does not maintain at all.”
So the NBC 6 Investigators took action, setting up a hidden camera.
One recent night, the camera captured a truck displaying the name of a non-existent business and an invalid telephone number pulled up, lifted its rear bed and dumped a pile of garbage on the Hialeah side of the road.
Nearby, there were clues to where some other trash may have originated.
One of the most prominent items dumped were old mattresses and adjacent to many of them were boxes that recently contained new mattresses.
Those boxes had one important thing in common: mailing labels with the address for a Mattress Firm distribution center located less than one mile away from the illegal dump.
After NBC 6 alerted Mattress Firm to some of what we found, the company took swift action.
The very next day, the hidden camera rolled as a delivery truck pulled up and workers began picking up the discarded mattresses and boxes.
In a statement to NBC 6, Mattress Firm said their team "took action” after our reporting made them “aware that some of our products were being improperly disposed of at a nearby industrial area by a third-party contractor. Mattress Firm works diligently with our contractors to ensure that they are following city and state policies for disposal. We were frustrated to hear that one of them did not adhere to these policies, which we staunchly enforce…We are reinforcing our policies and no-tolerance stance with our current providers to guarantee they are following proper disposal procedures.”
But many cubic yards of waste remain, which Maytin, owner of CDL Technical & Motorcycle Driving School, says it’s damaging his prospects with prospective customers.
“As you’re driving here and you’re seeing all of that, what can you expect when you pull into my driveway?” he asked, adding it’s not just visual blight that concerns him. “They’re creating mosquitoes on a daily basis. Animals, rodents, everything in there.”