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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 27 2010

Curb your enthusiasm: New rules affect Cleanup Week

Cleanup Week starts May 3 in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and trash piles are popping up on berms throughout the metro.

While that’s great for the trasherazzi, the folks who dig through trash hoping to find treasures, hasty homeowners could find big charges tagged to their trash bills, officials said Monday.

That’s because except during Cleanup Week, volume-based trash rules – and charges – are in effect in Fargo and Moorhead.

“Anything that’s on the curb this week that’s in excess of regular garbage will be charged for, across the board,” said Chad Martin, Moorhead Public Works director.

Martin estimates a couple hundred residents have started early piles.

“If it’s between the sidewalk and curb, we pick it up,” Martin said.

Moving trash a few yards closer to a home on the other side of the sidewalk earns a break. It won’t be picked up, he said.

The initial charge is $15 for curbside pickup, Martin said, which is stiff for a few small items. After that, a pickup load of trash might cost $15 to $20 extra, a refrigerator another $20.

Martin said putting Cleanup Week trash out early lets it get blown by the wind and scattered by scavengers; rain turns mattresses and boxes soggy.

In Fargo, Cleanup Week piles won’t be picked up unless neighbors complain, said Recycling Supervisor Brady Brunsvold.

Also, items difficult to pick up when wet, such as mattresses or couches, will be picked up, said Solid Waste Utility Manager Terry Ludlum.

In those cases, standard fees apply, Brunsvold said.

“I think you definitely want to wait until the appropriate day,” he said.

Extra garbage is charged at $3 for each 32-gallon equivalent. A washer or dryer would cost $20. A couch could cost $15 to $20 depending on its size, Brunsvold said.

Ludlum said he had no idea how many people have been charged extra pickup fees, but with rain in the forecast, he urged homeowners to hold off putting items out too early.

Officials on both sides of the river remind residents to separate piles by type of trash because different crews pick up different types of trash, they said.

A help for homeowners is Fargo’s household electronic recycling event Saturday at the Solid Waste Building, 2301 8th Ave. N, Brunsvold said.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the city will accept – at no charge – televisions, computers and monitors (up to two of each item) from households in Fargo, West Fargo, Casselton, Mapleton and any other city or county with a Fargo landfill agreement.

Residential electronics can be dropped off year-round during the workweek at Fargo’s Household Hazardous Waste facility, 606 43½ St. N.

Businesses can recycle items at Fargo’s Household Hazardous Waste facility at a discount May 10-14. Businesses should call (701) 281-8915 in advance with an estimated quantity.

Computer monitors and televisions have cathode ray tubes which contain, on average, 3 pounds of lead, Fargo officials said. Computer drives contain mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals harmful to the environment.

Tossing an old bike?

The F-M Community Bicycle Workshop is taking any unwanted bicycles and

tools during Cleanup Week.

Learn more at www.fmbikeworkshop.org.

The shop, at 1418 1st Ave N. in Fargo, is open 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Women and Women-Identified Nights are 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583