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Your Input is Needed on Proposed Changes to Bulk Trash Program

Tonight, the Mayor and Council will have a discussion on the amendments to the Bulk Trash Program. Below, is an explanation of what will be brought forward for our consideration. I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

SCS Engineers, a solid waste management consultant, made the following recommendations and possible new collection fees.

The consultant surveyed the Big 10 communities and area local jurisdictions to learn about their bulk trash collection program guidelines. Most jurisdictions require an appointment for collection of bulky refuse items and about half of the jurisdictions charge a fee for their collection. Some local jurisdictions charge for each bulk item collected, while others charge per cubic yard.

For Special/Bulk Refuse Collection, SCS is recommending to charge $20 per item over limit beyond a 20-item limit annually; up to four (4) free collections per the calendar year. Alternatively, this fee for items could be charged beyond a 2-3 cubic yard limit per quarter. SCS Report also recommends prohibiting the collection of Contractor-Generated Materials. Home improvement material generated by the resident will be picked up within the proposed bulk trash rule (20 items /year). Collection fees for bulky refuse items exceeding identified quantities or incurring a charge must be paid in advance. The material must be placed in an organized manner separated into like materials. Materials improperly set out will not be collected. Residents may continue to drop off bulky refuse items at Public Works during clean-up events. These drop-off events will not be counted toward annual collection limits.

To encourage compliance with new or existing bulk trash collection policies, SCS Engineers recommends that the City, not pickup material or items that are unscheduled and just left out in the curb or are placed in an incorrect or unsafe manner. Rather, the City, through the Departments of Public Works and Public Services (Code Enforcement) should use such opportunities to educate residents on proper collection policies and practices through use of door hangers that: 1) inform and clarify proper procedures for the efficient and safe removal of bulk trash material including scheduling and placement; and 2) that the material must set out properly or be removed by other means within 24 hours; if not, the City will remove the material and bill the property owner via a lien on the property for the cost of removing the material, in the same manner, the City currently abates nuisances – City abates nuisance, then invoices and/or liens property for cost of abatement.

The Council will also discuss presentations to the City Council and the Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) that sought to address a few issues with the current method of bulk trash collection in the city.


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  1. Harvy

    Seems like a decent proposal. I have seen several examples of contractors utilizing bulk pickup to avoid dumping fees from their jobs. I think the majority of people use bulk pickup occasionally so I do not see most people having to pay a fee. I only question about personal home improvement waste. For example, I removed some wall paneling and requested bulk pickup. I cut it down to small, manageable pieces which resulted in about 12 panels becoming 36 to make pick up easier on the crew. In this case, would I be charged for each piece over the 20 mark? A suggestion would be to consider similar material as 1 item. Overall, I think the change is necessary to cut down on people taking advantage of this service as well as avoiding unsightly blight in the neighborhood.

  2. Valerie

    It sounds like a fair proposal overall, but…

    I was concerned about the limit of 2-3 cubic yards per quarter. Basically you’d dispose of one piece of furniture and hit the limit. I think limiting collections by quantity sounds much more reasonable, and I would hope that a bunch of similar items appropriately bundled together (e.g. a box of shingles) would count as a single item.

    One other thing: how are they going to keep track of how many items a single residence generated over a year, if divided into 4 collections? That sounds like a lot of record-keeping, which would probably end up getting paid for by the residents. I think it makes more sense to set an item limit per collection, rather than per year.

  3. Fazlul Kabir

    Hi Harvy, Thanks for your comments. The SCS consultant’s report has a section describing what an “item” may mean. Thankfully, at last night’s Council discussion on the bulk trash proposal, we did not decide to take all recommendations the SCS consultant made in their report. Most notably, we decided to postpone the recommendation on limiting bulk trash collections based on the number of items per year. I hope to make a post about last night’s discussion soon.

  4. Fazlul Kabir

    Hi Valerie, Thanks for your comments. At last night’s meeting, we decided to postpone the recommendation on limiting bulk trash collections based on the number of items or volume per year.

  5. Carol Macknis

    Regarding limiting bulk trash collections based on the number of items or volume per year, since the council at the last meeting requested that be added back into the bulk waste issue, does that mean the public forum will include it? That isn’t clear to me. Since moving to College Park in 1972, I always thought that bulk pickups had to be scheduled. I’ve seen the city picks up stuff even if it hasn’t been scheduled with no notice to the resident that a pickup must be scheduled. This indicates to the resident that there’s no need to schedule pickups. That needs to be stopped now or, at a minimum, the resident notified that a pickup is required — not wait until this new bulk trash pickup is implemented. In addition, the city needs to enforce that things can’t be put out at the curb for bulk pickup more than 24 or 48 hours before the scheduled pickup day. Folks now put things out whenever they want to regardless of when/if the bulk pickup is scheduled.

  6. Fazlul Kabir

    Hi Carol, CM Rigg has requested the item back for a Council discussion. If the Council agrees, there will be additional changes to the ordinance, and at that point, residents will get an aopportunity to public input. Hope this helps!

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