For Fort Dodge city workers, spring cleaning can mean more than 400 dump trucks worth of garbage to haul away.
That's typical for the city's yearly Spring Clean-up days, said Public Works Operations Manager Merle Porter.
This year the cleanup days will be the last two Wednesdays in April and the first two Wednesdays in May. It's a chance to get rid of all kinds of junk couches, old TVs, beds, clothes, even old computers, Porter said.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Illegally dumped tires and other debris contrasts with the scenic Des Moines River south of Fort Dodge. This spot is frequently the site of illegal dumping including appliances, tires and other assorted junk.
Items should be placed at the curbside before 6 a.m. on the day of the pickup, or the night before. However, they should not be put out more than 24 hours in advance. There will be no pickup from alleys.
There will be no pickup from nonresidential premises.
All loose items, such as clothing or newspapers, must be boxed or sacked. Swing sets and clothesline poles must be disassembled with no concrete attached to the poles.
Wednesday - Monday garbage route
April 25 -Tuesday garbage route
May 2 - Thursday garbage route
May 9 - Friday garbage route
3:30 p.m. Tuesday, meet at AmericInn, 100 Kenyon Road, to clean Kenyon Road
4 p.m. Tuesday, meet at northwest corner of Wal-Mart parking lot to clean Crossroads area.
Some items will not be taken:
Tires or vehicle batteries
Liquid waste such as paint, varnish, motor oil
Major appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, dehumidifiers, etc.
Lumber or drywall from torn down buildings or remodeling
Areas will be picked up based on what day their normal garbage pickup is.
"We might get 80 to 85 loads on the Monday route," Porter said. "Tuesday's route, we have almost 100 loads; the Thursday route we have 115 to 125. The Friday route is the last day, and we usually have 125 to 130 loads on Friday."
These are full garbage trucks and dump truck loads, he said; they'll use a loader to help pack the stuff in.
By comparison, he said, a normal garbage day yields three to four loads of garbage.
There will be five garbage trucks and 14 dump trucks on the roads these days, he said, and all the personnel from the public works will help out.
"If anybody wants to volunteer for Wednesday, we'll take you," he added, laughing.
The number of loads increases each week in part because of "junkers" who pick things up on the earlier days, then decide they don't want the things after all and put them out on the curb again, Porter said.
He also said that after doing this for so long and seeing what people throw out, nothing surprises him anymore.
"The old saying used to be, they threw out everything but the kitchen sink. But we sort of quit saying that because now we get kitchen sinks."
On Tuesday, volunteers will gather to clean up litter in the Crossroads area and along Kenyon Road. The Foreign Object and Debris Walk is now in its sixth year. In past years, more than 100 volunteers have come together to help out.
To register for the walk, contact Amy Bruno at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance at 955-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each Wednesday, after the refuse has been taken away, crews will go back out and pick up yard waste from the whole city, Porter said. Yard waste should be in brown disposable bags, or in bundles, with stickers attached. The stickers are available at the same places as the bags, such as Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee Drugstore, Porter said.
"We absolutely will not take any yard waste in plastic bags," he said.
Yard waste is taken to the city composting center, located at 3001 Eighth Ave. S. The center is open throughout the week for people to drop off their waste for free. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Wednesdays.
Other disposal options
Deb Watson, of the Fort Dodge Recycling Center, said in addition to the cleanup days people could have one free pass to drop things off at the city landfill.
"People can just come to the landfill, bring their ID, and tell us they want that for their free load. It goes by one per person, one per address. They can take as many loads as they want, but they'll have to pay for that."
Watson said recycling is growing quite a bit in Fort Dodge. "People are getting the word that that's the thing to do, with the emphasis on Earth Day and all that."
While TVs and computers will be taken during cleanup days, leaving them at the curb will send them into the landfill, Porter said.
They can also be dropped off at the recycling center, but TVs and the old, larger CRT computer monitors are $15 to dispose. Computer towers are free. All the pieces are shipped off and recycled.
"It's better to recycle everything," Watson said. "All those electric components, you really don't want those in the landfill. Things never go away."
The recycling center is located at the south end of town on 22nd Street. Farther south, 22nd turns into Landfill Drive and goes past the landfill. Further south yet is Frank's Auto Salvage, a final resting place for refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances too big for cleanup day.
At Frank's, Brendon Passow said there is a $5 charge to dispose of refrigerators, air conditioners, or anything else with freon; appliances without freon are free.
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com