Saturday, May 15, 2004

Take our trash, towns say, but don't disturb our sleep



By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

MIAMI TOWNSHIP - Bill Fox got up at 1:45 a.m. April 1 and thought the garbage trucks he heard outside his home were an April Fool's joke.

PICKUP TIMES
A sampling:

Blue Ash: Pickup 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cincinnati: Public Services Department picks up beginning at 6 a.m. in summer and 7 a.m. when school is in session and continues until the routes are done.
Florence: Residential pickup between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. only; some purely commercial areas can be picked up at any time.
Hamilton: Pickup 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lebanon: None before 7 a.m.
Springfield Township: No restrictions.
West Chester Township: No restrictions.

The clanging of Dumpsters being emptied into the truck wasn't.

"It was horrible. I got up and followed it and got the license-plate number, but the township couldn't do anything," said Fox, 52, who lives near Meijer Drive and an area populated by businesses in this Clermont County community.

But he will be able to sleep easier soon.

Like many Greater Cincinnati communities, Miami Township is limiting trash-collection times - even as trash haulers become concerned about workers' safety.

The township, which has a resolution to stop trash collection between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. in residential areas, adopted a new resolution that prohibits collection from commercial areas at those times.

Beginning June 3, violations will carry a $500 fine for first offense and $1,000 for the second.

"When we get calls from residents complaining about being awakened at three and four in the morning, and we have the legal authority to do something about it, there's no reason we shouldn't. There are plenty of hours during the day when this can be done," Miami Township Administrator David Duckworth said.

In Florence, the city's contract with CSI Waste Services has limited residential pickup to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. since 1999, but the city allows some purely commercial areas to be picked up at any time.

"If it's not going to bother anyone, and no one's going to hear it, then we allow them to come earlier," said Jeremy Kleier, the code administrator for the city.

In Montgomery, the contract with Rumpke Consolidated Cos. Inc. is similar but includes no collection during rush hours - between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4:30 and 6 p.m. - on major roads. But even those businesses not covered by the contract are restricted by the city's noise ordinance prohibiting pickup between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Mason, in Warren County, has a similar noise ordinance. And Tuesday, Deerfield Township trustees will consider trash-pickup restrictions.

But there are still some communities that haven't taken on the issue. In Colerain Township, there are no noise or trash pickup ordinances setting specific times, although at times, they've asked haulers to change a route because of a noise concern.

"We haven't had enough complaints to deal with it any further," Township Administrator David Foglesong said.

As more townships and municipalities consider restrictions, the area's largest trash collectors, Rumpke and CSI, say they fear that employees will be put at risk.

"Our goal is to try to pick up waste in areas with heavy traffic before rush hour begins," said Amanda Wilson, Rumpke's senior corporate communications executive. "The No. 1 concern is safety, but it also often takes longer during the day, and in the summer the heat becomes a real issue."

Time restrictions can also lead to the need for more trucks on the road, and that can lead to higher prices, said Greg Beamer, general manager of CSI for the Tristate.

"As communities do this, we're trying to automate more of our customers so our guys don't have to go out on the street to pick up the garbage. Not only is it safer, but it's cleaner and more efficient."

Fox, the resident disturbed on April Fools Day, said he's not asking for much: "All we want is a little peace and quiet until 6 a.m. There are a lot of greater issues out there, but to be able to get some good quality sleep - that's important."




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