Trash issues not simple

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Often when people see a pile of trash on the side of the road they get a sour taste in their mouth. They begin to wonder how a person could leave their property in such a state.

It is almost never the intention of the property owner to leave a mess behind. Sometimes the eyesores are simply the result of confusion.

Jim Parr, whose family owns a trailer park on Maria that had gotten negative reactions, said they were unaware the clean up would be so great when they hired someone to do it. He said the volume of the trash caused it to remain on the side of the road instead of being taken away.

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“When we cleaned up the trailer park we had no idea the magnitude of the clean up,” Parr said. “We thought that the trash would be picked up and it wasn’t. It was just a miscommunication.”

Parr said they were under the assumption that the trash would be taken away with the rest of the discarded materials. However, no one ever retrieved the waste and the pile remained in front of the park. Parr the problem was planning and an innocent mistake.

“It takes a little more planning than everybody thought,” Parr said. “It was never our intention to just leave a big pile of trash out there on the side of the road. We want to take care of our place as well as anyone else. We just had a miscommunication and the trash was never picked up.”

Parr and his family are well known for their role in helping improve the community. They said it was their intention to continue to do their part to keep the River City beautiful. Parr said this was just an example of a communication problem and it would soon be taken care of.

“I want to participate in keeping Demopolis clean as much as anyone,” Parr said. “Our whole family does. It’s not anybody’s fault we just had a lack of communication. We are going to do whatever we have to do to get it cleaned up and get this fixed.”

The Parr’s are not the first to run into this problem. Often the trash will remain because people do not know the proper way to dispose of their rubbish.

Ordinary trash collection is rather simple. People fill the can; drag the can to the side of the road and the trash is collected. Unfortunately, when the pile includes larger items the process becomes more complicated.

Junior Brooker, who runs the Street and Sanitation department, said there are avenues that can be taken to clean up such areas. Brooker said it is up to the landowner to take the first step.

“Typically things like that should be handled by the individual,” Brooker said. “The city does not pick up things like that.”

Brooker said one way to be sure items are collected it to acquire the proper receptacle.

“The best thing they can do is rent a dumpster from Arrow or waste management,” Brooker said. “A lot of times there will be things like mattresses, box springs and barbecue grills and things like that. The best thing for them to do is get a dumpster.”

Brooker said if people take the correct measures companies are usually very cooperative with the things they will collect.

“In those cases they will also pick up things like white goods such as refrigerators, washers and dryers and things like that,” Brooker said.

There are exceptions to what can be collected. In the event of renovations Brooker said leftover materials would not be collected.

“They will not pick up contract debris,” Brooker said. “If someone guts a trailer or something like that they will not pick things like that up. There can be debris such as sheet rock and stuff like that. Disposal of those things is the responsibility of the contractor.”

A representative for Waste Management of Demopolis said they would collect larger items, but not on a weekly basis.

“We do collect larger items, but we only do it once a month,” she said. “In order to get something that large picked up they also have to call us. We will not just come and get it for them. They have to let us know about it.”

Waste Management covers a lot of ground so it is impossible for them to collect larger items each week. They often spend a week in one area and move to another the next.

Waste Management also asks for notice in addition to the call. They ask that people call at least one week in advance of when they want a specific item collected.