GUYS, SORT YOUR DEBRIS
By TOM WOERNER
Of The Record Staff
When residents of Angier put limbs, household items, construction debris and other items next to their curb they often come home to find the items gone and the street clean where piles once stood. Many don’t realize the process of making that happen is time consuming and at times an expensive task and town officials are asking the public for help in dealing with it.
Town board members began considering a new ordinance to help persuade the public to help make the process of picking up items at curbside easier. The current policy, which is ignored by many, calls for debris to be separated into piles that are no more than 6 feet long and 6 feet high. Construction materials and household items are supposed to be separated into different piles.
Piles that are approved under the current ordinance can easily be picked up by town trucks. Larger piles or piles with restricted See Debris, Page 3
Debris piles like this one on Wimberly Drive in Angier cause delays for crews because they have to maneuver equipment around the sign. Public works employee Buck Brooks is shown picking up what remains of the pile. Normally, a mechanical arm can pick it up, but not when a sign is in the middle of it.
Daily Record Photos/Tom Woerner
Items like this toilet and furniture found on Dunn Street in Angier by public works crews last week delay the process of picking up debris throughout the town. Construction materials, like the toilet, have to be picked up by separate trucks and taken to a different section of the landfill.
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items mixed in require town workers to spend more time picking up debris.
Smaller piles require drivers to get out of their trucks and use rakes and pitch forks to clean up the mess.
Citizens are asked to put piles away from mailboxes and other items in their yard. They are also asked to keep them from under power lines as much as possible. Removing piles from around those items slows down the collection process because sanitation workers can’t use a mechanical arm attached to the trash truck.
“If we take too long at one house then we can’t give other customers the service they deserve,” truck operator Buck Brooks said.
A few hours on a limb collection truck last week showed that failure to comply by the rules results in long days for crews.
“There is no way you can get to the whole town in one day,” Mr. Brooks said. “That doesn’t happen.”
Public Works Director Jimmy Cook said the goal is to remove material from in front of houses within a week.
“If citizens put it out on Monday, we try to get it all picked up by Friday,” Mr. Cook said. “Our goal is to have a neat and clean town and we need the public to help us do that.”
The process is slowed in the middle of each month when crews that normally run trucks are required to read water meters.
The task of clearing items from the street is done by one of three trucks. A leaf truck circulates around town using a vacuum to pick up leaves, pine straw and small items that fit through vacuum hoses.
A second truck, with the mechanical arm on it, removes large limbs, bushes and debris. Those items are supposed to be in the 6-foot by 6-foot piles.
Town officials have begun discussions about a new ordinance to make removal of items a smoother process. It has become necessary to look at the policy because of the amount of materials being taken to landfills. In 2015, 274 tons of limbs was taken to the landfill.
“We joke that there can’t be any more limbs in Angier,” Mr. Brooks said.
The new ordinance, if passed, may contain language that allows the town to charge monetary penalties for not following regulations.
Currently, crews leave door notes on homes where items are not put in the proper sized piles or mixed to point they cannot be picked up.
Landfill regulations prohibit the town from mixing limb debris with construction materials and other items.
“Sometimes you will think you’re picking up pinestraw and there will be bricks or something else buried in there,” Mr. Cook said.
Crew members tell stories of items like paint cans and toilets mixed in with yard debris. Other items seen in piles in Angier include countertops, cabinets, tires, glass, at least one dead cat and other items. Last week items such as small plastic swimming pools, used carpet, small chairs and pieces of wood panel flooring were all on Angier’s streets, waiting to be picked up.
Some items which are discarded, including glass and tires, may be prohibited from street-side disposal in a proposed new policy.
A door note was left at a home last week when residents left a toilet by their street side. Similar notes are left when piles are too large to be picked up. Customers are also warned when they include construction materials in with yard waste. Those piles are not picked up until they are properly sorted.
Though large piles, creating multiple trips to the county landfill between Coats and Erwin, seem to be the most obvious problem, Mr. Brooks said it is smaller piles, of limbs too large for the leaf truck to pick up that the most time.
“You have to clean them up, but it takes time,” Mr. Brooks said. “Piles like that make a man get out of truck a lot of times during a day.”
Warning notes may bring protest notes from residents, but some are also happy with the work done by the crew.
A customer last week greeted Mr. Brooks in the early morning hours with a smile, along with a handful of candy as a token of appreciation.
“You are never going to make people happy all the time, but at least today I made one customer happy,” Mr. Brooks said.
Town board members discussed the possible new ordinance at the regular meeting of the board in August. They did not take action on the new policy.
Town Manager Coley Price said crews do as well as they can given the circumstances.
“In my opinion, they do a heck of a job,” Mr. Price told town board members.
He said he feels the problem is going to have to be addressed.
“Right now we are wearing out a service that is being abused,” Mr. Price said.