The City of Webster City is exploring options to remove a large amount of illegally dumped trash near the Webster City Street Department.
City Manager Ed Sadler spoke about the issue at Monday's meeting of the City Council. He said that because grass and trees are not allowed in most landfills, the City created a compost pile for community members to use at the Street Department some time ago.
The City also kept a dumpster next to the compost pile to dispose of bags used to carry material for the pile.
In late June, the City announced they were removing the dumpster from the site. Many items, including televisions and furniture, were illegally dumped at the site numerous times, according to Sadler. Currently, Sadler said the City is looking at a $12,000 bill to remove the accumulated trash which would require 24 dump truck loads to dispose of completely.
Sadler said the Street Department doesn't have the money to remove the trash at the moment. As such, the trash has been taken to the side of the Street Department's property and covered with woodchips to keep it from moving.
While the dumpster has been removed, the compost pile remains at the Street Department. To deter more illegal dumping at the site, Sadler said the City has installed cameras to monitor the pile.
"At some point, we as a City are going to have to pay for this," Sadler said. "The cameras are there to catch people who continue to do this with us. We are not your dump."
At Monday's City Council meeting, Sadler said the City could find money to remove the trash by issuing municipal infractions to those who continue to illegally dump waste at the site. The first issuance of a municipal infraction carries a fine of $750. The cameras, according to Sadler, are accessible by the Webster City Police Department and record any activity at the site.
The Street Department site is just one place that Sadler said the City has seen illegal dumping. In one instance, Sadler said medical needles, among other unfit items, were found in the recycle bin that the City and Hamilton County jointly maintain. He said that service and others the City provides could also end up on the chopping block if they are continually abused.
"For whatever reason, trash is an issue around here. For us, it's the grass dump," Sadler said. "If it doesn't stop, if we don't catch the people doing it at the recycle bins, that will probably have to go by the wayside too. The city can't afford to keep paying for everybody else's trash."
Sadler said he hopes community members will take it upon themselves discourage others from illegally dumping trash so such services can remain available.