Weatherford Democrat

October 5, 2007

Free dump day

City, County team up to beautify local landscape

Galen Scott

As a summer full of warm weather and rain tip-toes toward the first hard freeze of autumn, heaps of brush and fallen limbs are an increasingly common sight outside Parker County residences.

For the second time this year, local government officials are offering to take care of residential organic waste — and just about anything else — for free.

Weatherford sanitation officials are opening the First Monday Trade Days grounds from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, for city residents with a penchant for cleanliness. The City is requiring proof of residency this year, and is asking citizens to bring a utility bill or photo identification.

On the same day, and at the same time, crews are scheduled to man the county’s four precincts to collect waste from unincorporated areas.

Historically, throngs of trailer-toting pickup trucks form lines outside the county’s four precinct barns, eagerly waiting to unload anything from old boats to mobile homes. Precinct 2 reported more than 1,000 truck and trailer loads of unwanted items were dropped off during the spring cleanup in March.

Parker County Commissioners direct traffic during the often chaotic mass-dumping days. In addition, Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler is expecting an honest day’s work out of approximately 30 trusty inmates, assigned to assist both city and county residents unloading waste. Dumpers are encouraged to separate metals and trash from wood and brush materials.

The City and the County started offering the free dump service to residents twice a year about 10 years ago — once during the spring season, and again each fall. For a little while after dump day, Parker County Environmental Officer Connie Goode agreed things around the county do seem to be cleaner.

“For people who have been storing refuse or rubbish around their place, this is a great opportunity for them to take advantage of a free service,” Goode said. “Especially if you live in a neighborhood because there are health and safety code violations that could stem from storing a lot of this stuff.”

Whenever possible, Goode allows violators of county environmental ordinances enough time to fix the problem by taking advantage of the next dump day.

“If there is someone who just doesn’t have the money to hire someone to come out and pick up all their stuff, or get a dumpster, we work with them if it’s close to a countywide cleanup, we let them know about it,” she said. “I wish we could do it all the time.”

In addition to items too big or heavy to set out by the curb, the cleanup day presents a rare opportunity to dispose of regulated items like motor oil and car batteries for free.

Goode pointed out disposing of oil incorrectly is a big crime.

“If people have any oil, instead of going out and dumping it on the ground, which could get them in trouble criminally, this is a good time to dispose of it properly,” she added.