Waste Management suspends bulk pickup in East Spencer, leading to more curbside trash

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 12, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

EAST SPENCER — Many local and state businesses shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the temporary closing of one company has led to an accumulation of trash for the town of East Spencer.

In late March, Waste Management, the company that hauls bulk trash items for the town, suspended its services to the town and cited precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The town received a letter from the company dated March 29. Since that time, some residents have emptied their house’s furniture, mattresses and other large household items that normally would’ve been collected, said Brandon Emory, owner of Alliance Code Enforcement, which handles the town’s code enforcement.

“Illegal dumping has been an issue in East Spencer; it appears to be for an extremely long time just because there are some back roads and side roads that aren’t super visible,” Emory said.

But the long-standing issue has escalated lately, he said.

“It’s kind of a fine line because they were allowed to do it before because it was being picked up, but now it’s not being picked up,” Emory said.

Emory said his company has been able to connect with owners and tenants to get them to remove the items and dispose of them properly. Some people are moving or spring cleaning and leaving the items on the roadside.

“I’m seeing a lot of debris, household items. It’s a lot of large items that won’t fit in your trash can and people don’t know where to put it,” Emory said.

He said there was one house located near the East Spencer Post Office where occupants were clearing the house and had a stack of items on the roadside. He met with the property owner and had it taken care of within a day.

One place where individuals have continuously dumped trash and other items is a road that backs up to the railroad tracks and a wooded area. That’s mostly because it can’t be seen from the road.

“We are trying to do it as best we can on our level, but there’s a lot of it and we’ve got limited hours. We are trying to work together to get taken care of,” Emory said.

He advises residents to make arrangements to haul their items to the landfill. Metal can be taken to local scrapyards.

Town Administrator James Bennett has been looking at COVID-19 revenue sources that might help the town with being able to address the issue and looking for outside resources to assist with handling it in-house.

Bennett said the items sitting on the road and illegally dumped on other property is unsightly. Bennett said he understands that Waste Management has followed CDC guidelines, but doing so has made for extra work for town crews. More residents being at home due to the state’s stay-at-home order and decluttering their homes has also contributed, he said.

“Hopefully everything will be coming to an end,” Bennett said.

He said Waste Management is expected to return to normal pickup at the end of the month.

He said the town chooses to believe residents didn’t place items on the curbside maliciously and simply as a way to get rid of items.