MUSCATINE, Iowa – For the past several years, the City of Muscatine has sponsored a city-wide “Spring Cleanup Week” at the end of April when residents could pile their unwanted bulky waste items curbside and the city would pick up the piles for free. However, that program proved to be too costly as the piles grew more numerous and bigger with each succeeding year.
A new action plan was created over the winter that allows the curbside collection of bulky waste from Muscatine and Fruitland residents year round on a “call-in to schedule” basis.
The announcement of the change came in February when the Curbside Bulky Waste Collection Program was rolled out by the Solid Waste Division of the Department of Public Works.
With the change, however, comes a warning to residents … do not put bulky waste curbside and just expect the city to come pick it up.
The new program was revealed during a presentation to the Muscatine City Council on January 9, 2020, by Brian Stineman, Director of the Department of Public Works, and David Popp, Solid Waste Manager. The new program offers residents the opportunity to schedule a curbside bulky waste collection through the Muscatine Transfer Station on the residents refuse collection day.
“There is no longer any need for residents to stockpile their unwanted bulky items for that one week of the year,” Popp said. “Instead residents can call the Transfer Station to schedule a curbside pickup of those bulky items.”
Curbside bulky waste collection was previously offered to Muscatine and Fruitland residents three times per calendar year free of charge, but that program saw little use by residents. A massive collection effort was staged in late April during a designated “Spring Cleanup Week”, and the numerous large piles of bulky waste forced a one week program into two weeks keeping staff and equipment off of other city projects.
With the consent of the Muscatine City Council, that designated “Spring Cleanup Week” was sent to the recycle bin with the launch of a new, more efficient program.
Residents who place bulky items curbside without scheduling a collection with the Transfer Station could be subject to warnings and possible fines from the Community Development Department (CD) code enforcement division.
“Our staff is again seeing these piles spring up curbside in different areas of the city,” Stineman said. “One of the purposes for the new program is to prevent these unsightly and dangerous piles from appearing throughout the city. We hope that those who have placed items curbside will call the Transfer Station to schedule a pickup.”
Popp said that his department is working with CD to develop door hangers that can be placed on the front door of a residents’ home if the CD inspectors find a pile of bulky waste that has not been scheduled for collection.
“Basically the resident will have several options,” Popp said. “The best option is for the resident to call the Transfer Station to set up a free collection.”
Residents could also clean up the bulky waste deposits themselves and haul the material to the Transfer Station (once the Transfer Station reopens to the public) where they would be charged a tipping floor fee.
When a bulky waste pile is identified by CD inspectors a nuisance abatement letter is issued to the resident that requires the resident to clean up the pile by either scheduling a collection or cleaning up the area themselves. If the pile is not cleaned up, the City contracts with a third party to clean up the pile and then sends the resident the bill for the expense of the cleanup.
Residents wanting a curbside bulky waste collection need to call 563-264-JUNK (563-264-5865) or email the Muscatine Transfer Station at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a pickup on the residents refuse collection day.
Bulky waste curbside collection is offered on the resident’s refuse collection day at no additional charge but the resident needs to call the Transfer Station to confirm the items to be collected and to ensure that items not allowable for collection are not in the pile of bulky waste.
“If you call in and get the answering machine we will call you back,” Jennifer Calcott, Transfer Station clerk, said. “If you email us, we will call you. We are making every effort to talk with anyone who calls in to review the rules and set up a collection day. The most important thing for the public is to remember that you need to call in at least two business days ahead of your collection day to be put on the schedule.”
If residents have a large amount of bulky waste items they would like collected by the City, multiple pickups can be scheduled to keep the piles to a more manageable size for both the resident and City staff.
Once a pickup is scheduled with the City, residents will be permitted to place the unwanted items curbside the night before their regular refuse collection day or by 5:00 a.m. on the collection day.
Businesses are not eligible for this service.
A link to the Bulky Waste Collection page on the City of Muscatine web site is located in the upper right half of the main page. You can also visit the Solid Waste Division page or visit the Transfer Station page for more information.