Beaufort enforces stricter rules for city trash pickup

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJuly 20, 2013 

Waste Pro says Beaufort residents need to follow rules on yard trash pick up or pay more for the service.

At a meeting for residents at city hall last week, Waste Pro representativessaid rules about how much yard trash can be put out -- and how it's bagged -- aren't being adhered to.

Yard debris will no longer be picked up unless it is properly put out, company representative Rob Scott said.

Waste Pro was "helping out the residents as much as they could by picking up things that weren't bagged, bound, tied," as they are supposed to be, he said. "But with the amount of yard debris we're hauling, you can't have someone digging through a pile for 20 or 30 minutes."

Snakes and other pests can be attracted to the debris piles, posing a safety hazard for employees, Scott added.

According to the city website, yard debris must be in plastic bags or tied neatly, with bags and bunches weighing less than 50 pounds and measuring less than four feet long. No more than 10 bags may be put out per week.

Those rules haven't always been followed, City Councilwoman Donnie Beer said, and Waste Pro representatives even said at one point that it wasn't necessary.

"You all need to get the word out, because we were told we did not have to do that," Beer said.

Residents could also see fees tacked onto their trash pickup bills if they have yard debris that requires Waste Pro to send out a "clam truck" designed to handle the additional work, Scott said. Those fees will depend on the volume of debris and have always been included in the contract with the city.

The fees haven't been enforced, however.

"There is new management at Waste Pro," Scott said. "The old management did allow them to take that out once in a while, but it was a losing factor, money-wise."

Waste Pro also is reminding residents to put their trash out early in the morning. Although routes have not changed, pickups can occur earlier than residents expect, meaning they miss the opportunity for the week. This happened frequently July 4, when many residents didn't put trash out, and Waste Pro employees worked through their routes faster than usual. Waste Pro pickups halt only for the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day holidays.

The city allows trash to be put out no earlier than 5:30 a.m. and asks that it be curbside by 7:30 a.m. to guarantee pickup. Residents at the neighborhood meeting said that can be a difficult window to make, which is why many put the bins out at night.

Scott said notices could be added to the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority bill, which includes the monthly trash fee for city residents. That fee was recently increased by $2.70, to $16.20 a month, by City Council.

Questions can be directed to Waste Pro at 843-645-4100.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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