Authorities remove 7 tons of trash, waste from homeless camps

Police say the camps are unsanitary and pose a danger to the public.  (Photo by Bill Gowdy)
Police say the camps are unsanitary and pose a danger to the public. (Photo by Bill Gowdy)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 18, 2019 at 10:34 AM CDT
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Police, McLennan County Environmental Unit deputies and jail trustees removed about seven tons of litter, trash, and human waste Wednesday from a cluster of campsites near the Walmart store on Franklin Avenue in Waco, police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Earlier in the day, Swanton said four separate camps had been located in the area, but Wednesday evening he revised the number to five.

Law enforcement units and refuse trucks were positioned Wednesday morning near store as the officers, deputies and trustees spread out to clear the camps, which were scattered across private property near the store.

Police used a drone to identify their locations.

“Obviously the people who own this property don’t want all the trash and the abundance of problems that come with it,” Swanton said.

Swanton led reporters on a tour of one of the sites Wednesday morning, cautioning them to watch where they stepped in order to avoid human waste and sharp objects.

Authorities went to the area last week to advise residents of the camps about Wednesday’s action and to provide them with information about local resources they can access.

The camps were vacant when authorities returned Wednesday morning, but were strewn with trash and debris.

Officers discovered a number of stolen shopping carts in the area.

On Sept. 6, police, McLennan County deputies and two jail trustees cleared out another homeless camp, this one situated in a wooded area southwest of the Walmart near an industrial area near the Owens-Brockway Glass Container plant.