The signs at the drop-off site are as clear as day.
One explicitly says when the drop-off center is open. Another tells what you can drop off at the site. And a third says “no dumping” your items when the center is closed, and warns people that they are under video surveillance.
But several times a week, an employee from John’s Disposal Service, t, or a DPW worker finds bags of trash, household items and even containers of oil sitting outside the locked fence.
They are items residents, or maybe non-residents, have dropped off illegally with disregard to all the posted signs.
“Sometimes you get there and it looks like people cleaned out their basement and left it at the gate,” DPW Superintendent Dan Ewert said. “Yesterday one of our guys saw somebody doing it and said something to him and they put it back in their car and took it away. But when nobody’s there …”
The drop-off center is open from Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As part of the contract with John’s, which went into effect Jan. 1, residents can bring items during those times at no cost.
It could be a different story if they bring items when the center is closed. Ewert said the fine for illegal dumping is in excess of $260, but he’s hoping residents get their act together and follow the rules before he resorts to making them pay that amount.
"I’d rather give people another chance to do things right than give them fines," Ewert said. “John’s has somebody there when it’s open. It’s free. Don’t abuse it. We give you all the benefits of trying to get rid of your stuff; follow the rules so you don’t ruin it for other people.”
Illegal dumping at the DPW yard has been a problem for some time, according to Ewert, but in the past, residents paid $8 per cubic foot to get rid of their unwanted goods. Even though it’s now free, the problem hasn’t gone away.
“Yesterday I was standing out there before the gate opened and there were six, seven cars waiting to get in,” Ewert said. “If those people spend the time to wait, everyone should.”