City warns about trash contaminating limb yard


HUNTINGBURG — The limb yard on First Street in Huntingburg is for residents to leave natural yard waste. However, trash, processed wood and other stuff is being left there, and it’s becoming a problem.

“We had a guy drop off a washing machine the other week,” Street Superintendent Jason Stamm said. “That is not what that site is for.”

That person was caught, fined and had to remove the machine.

“The purpose of the yard is for residents to be able to dispose of limbs and yard waste,” Mayor Denny Spinner said. “It is not intended to be a dumping site for trash and other items.”

Signs at the site state what cannot be left there, things like trash, construction materials and processed wood.

“Someone else dropped off lattice. We can’t take that there,” Stamm said. “Processed wood of any sort, we can’t take. That’s where people get misconstrued. If it’s a tree limb, we can take that because they can grind that up. But the processed wood, they can’t chip it up.”

Stamm believes people just aren’t being careful about what they leave.

“People will bring a load of limbs and pull it off the back of their truck. Underneath that might be four of five cans or a little sack with some trash in it,” he said. “Well, they’ll leave that there, too. I don’t know that they do it on purpose. But they don’t look. And if they do see it, they just leave it instead of picking it back up.”

The limb yard cannot become a trash site, Spinner said.

“The danger of going beyond that and allowing other things to be dumped there is that it compounds,” he said. “Once trash is starting to be dumped there, then more trash comes. That becomes a problem.”

Workers used to take the limbs to a local company that would grind them into chips and use the chips. Now, the company won’t accept the wood, but it is willing to come to the site to chip the wood, Stamm told the Huntingburg Board of Public Works last week. But, it still needs to be all natural wood.

“Anything that’s not natural yard waste or limbs contaminates the end product,” Spinner said. “The vendor can’t have that kind of contamination in the chips. And he has told us that he will not take any more of our limbs because of the trash in it.”

If the problem continues, the limb yard will have to be closed permanently. “We may have to have to cut it off,” Stamm said. “It’s costing the city a lot of extra money to have to do all this. And we can’t afford to keep going at this rate.”

Officials don’t want to do that. The city needs the public’s help to stop the dumping.

“If you see somebody do it, report it,” Stamm said.

There are cameras at the site, “but we can’t watch the monitors all day long,” Spinner said. “But if you say, ‘There was somebody there at 3 o’clock that was dumping trash,’ we can hopefully track that down, and keep the site clean.”

Officials hope the public will help before the problem gets worse.

“We are not near the point of ending the service,” Spinner said. “But if this doesn’t change, that will be something that the boards will have to consider.”

Household trash can be taken to one of the eight Dubois County Solid Waste District trash and recycling sites in the county; the closest one to the limb yard is near the intersection of County Roads 400 West and 400 South. Large items like furniture and appliances can be taken to the district’s process center, 1103 S. County Road 350 West, Jasper. Furniture, not appliances, can also be taken to the recycling site at 9781 S. Ferdinand Road NW. Trash can also be taken to the Velpen landfill. There are disposal fees for all these sites.

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