To da dump, to da dump, to da dump-dump-dump!

A fine day to set out for the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility - or, as I like to call it, The Dump.

A fine day to set out for the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility – or, as I like to call it, The Dump.

What gorgeous weather we’ve had lately, thankyouverymuch!  My rain barrels are full to overflowing, but that’s another blog.

At this time of year we find ourselves stuck inside alot, the wet weather hardly conducive to yard work or other outside chores. That’s okay, there’s plenty of stuff to do inside the house and the garage and the shop. First it’s good to give everything a good cleaning out, make some room for Winter activities.

Between our house and our rentals, there is always stuff that needs to go to the dump. Rotten fence posts and boards, old rug, a section of irrigation line torn up by a pissed off little dog  – things that are too big to stick in our Recology bin. We stack it up in a pile just beyond sight of my kitchen window, hidden by the corner of a fence and a shed, and when it looks about the same size as a half-ton pick-up, we load it up and haul it outta there.

Luckily, we get those free dump coupons from Recology – they used to send them every three months, now it looks like we’re cut off to twice a year. But I’ll take them – the dump usually charges $10 a car, with extra fees for weight beyond about 500 pounds. They also charge extra for “bulky items” – a mattress, for example, is $9. 

And let me warn you – don’t bring your stumps to the dump! A two foot wide stump will cost you $10, anything bigger is $30. You know you can make a pretty handy stool out of a stump, think about that before you bust a gut getting it into your truck.

I always look a trash load over pretty good – yesterday my husband and I argued over a section of hog wire fencing that I thought was still perfectly good but couldn’t lift it out of the truck myself so ceded the argument. 

And we were off!

Biscuit and Badges riding shotgun.

Biscuit and Badges riding shotgun.

a quiet day out on the highway, the storm made for pretty scenery.

a quiet day out on the highway, the storm made for pretty scenery.

It's beautiful out here, the canyons and bluffs stretch out under the clouds like a scene from a Steinbeck novel.

It’s beautiful out here, the canyons and bluffs stretch out under the clouds like a scene from a Steinbeck novel.

And suddenly the dump rises out of a canyon like a spectre - I like to call this, "Tampon Mountain." My husband calls it "Huggies Mountain." The point being, it's made out of garbage.

And suddenly the dump rises out of a canyon like a specter – I like to call this, “Tampon Mountain.” My husband calls it “Huggies Mountain.” The point being, it’s made out of garbage.

I had an English professor at Chico State named Gil Prince. He drove every day from his home in Paradise, he said, since the early 60’s. He had watched Neal Road Canyon form into a mountain over those years. He didn’t moralize over it – I will – Chico is a great big pig. You people need to look at your habits in a mirror. It amazes me that people would complain about having a trash truck come down their street – just imagine what a pile of your own filth you’d be sitting in if you had to deal with it yourself.

That said, my husband and I made our way to the  dump to make our contribution. 

This place used to be called, simply, Neal Road Landfill. When the county bought it they had to add a bigger title to justify the ridiculous management salaries out here. Three guys to manage the dump, making in excess of $200,000/year, plus benefits.

This place used to be called, simply, Neal Road Landfill. When the county bought it they had to add a bigger title to justify the ridiculous management salaries out here. Three guys to manage the dump, making in excess of $200,000/year, plus benefits.

This is the "sorting area" - reusable stuff like bicycles stacked in piles on the tarmac.

This is the “sorting area” – reusable stuff like bicycles stacked in piles on the tarmac.

When I complained that Neal Road Landfill is not up to modern dump standards, manager Mike Crump said that wan't true, our dump is modern. Looks way high tech Mike.

When I complained that Neal Road Landfill is not up to modern dump standards, manager Mike Crump said that wan’t true, our dump is modern. Looks way high tech Mike.

Here we have the "residential septic lagoon system," or as my husband prefers to call them, the "poo-poo ponds."

Here we have the “residential septic lagoon system,” or as my husband prefers to call them, the “poo-poo ponds.”

The dump is home to a vast water treatment system. If you are on a septic tank instead of sewer, you should have your tank pumped, minimum, every five years. Your septic service driver will bring it out to Neal Road, where they use the same technology that is used at the city water treatment, or “sewer” plant, but this doesn’t get dumped into the river, it evaporates. Read up on it here:

http://extension.missouri.edu/p/WQ402

More sorting piles, "clean" concrete.

More sorting piles, “clean” concrete.

I believe Mike Crump was sincere when he said the dump was modernizing – anything would be an improvement over the way this dump has been historically run. If you have been to the dump as many times as I have, you’ll remember total mayhem, dump it wherever, usable stuff all over the ground, which the employees used to try to retrieve if possible. A woman employee was once killed by a backhoe as she tried to retrieve something. When I made a move on a 5 gallon bucket I saw a man throw out of his truck, a man ran over and yelled at me to “get back in your husband’s truck!” I realize, he was fearing for my safety. It was a free-for-all out there. 

Twice we arrived to find fires that had been burning for days, spontaneous combustion of wet trash – it gets hot under there. 

So now, yeah, the dump is way improved over the Stone Age, but I think they have a little farther to go.

Here's where they have finally been "lining" the dump to prevent toxins from reaching ground water. They don't have enough staff to do projects like this out there, because management eats up the money, so they bring in jail crews to do this.

Here’s where they have finally been “lining” the dump to prevent toxins from reaching ground water. They don’t have enough staff to do projects like this out there, because management eats up all the money, so they bring in jail crews to do this. When they can afford it.

Here's the dump site - a great improvement over the old days, where you just drove your vehicle right onto the shifting trash mountain and emptied it as fast as you could. They now have a couple of guys watching, so you can't get away with dumping just anything - it's all much more controlled.

Here’s the dump site – a great improvement over the old days, where you just drove your vehicle right onto the shifting trash mountain and emptied it as fast as you could. They now have a couple of guys watching, so you can’t get away with dumping just anything – it’s all much more controlled.

I guess I can feel better about going to the dump now. I wonder if we will still  be allowed to haul our own junk to the dump when they set up the trash franchises. 

Waving bye-bye to my trash.

Waving bye-bye to my trash.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “To da dump, to da dump, to da dump-dump-dump!

  1. I have been to the dump twice in 11 years. Both times I ended up with a flat tire the next day! Because of those experiences, I won’t be going back again. Thank you for posting the photos so I can see what is happening. I did notice that there wasn’t even one plastic grocery bag on the fences, road or on your windshield.

    • You are not alone – a lot of my friends have never been to the dump. I also see people out there who have never been before, most people have no reason. Last trip, I met a 30-something year old man and his 60-something dad, bringing their rotten old fence, talking about the good time they had building it 25 years ago. They had never had any other reason to come to the dump.

      Which makes me realize, yeah, there’s tire hazards all over the place. My husband says they could do a better job of cleaning up that stuff.

    • your comment reminds me that we have a city bag ban which is supposed to be in effect in January – I wonder if the stores will wait until July to comply, that’s when the state law kicks in.

      I do realize, the stores are glad to charge for bags they’ve been paying for all these years, and I can’t believe they won’t make a profit at 10 cents (or more!) for a film plastic bag.

      We went out during a dumper the other day – I had to buy a lot of dry stuff, like flour, and I was damned glad to have the bags, but not 10 cents a piece worth of glad. I’ll have to save bags to put in my car, stuff them into my pockets so I’ll have something on those messy winter days.

      You’re right, I watch out the window as we are driving, wherever, and plastic bags constitute less than 1 percent of the garbage I see along the roadside. I see the kind of stuff that blows out of a garbage truck.

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