Steubenville’s new sanitation ordinance in effect

TRASH CHANGES — Residents who generate excess trash now have the option of leasing up to two additional garbage carts without increasing their monthly service fee, though they will have to pay a one-time lease fee of $55 per additional can. Homeowners could be charged an additional $5 per bag, with a minimum pickup fee of $25, for bagged trash unless it is one of their two free scheduled private bulk pickups per year. -- Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE — Months in the making, the city’s new sanitation ordinance affects everything from weekly pickups to bulk collections. The new ordinance already is in effect, though one of the biggest changes — elimination of commercial dumpster service — is being phased in to allow the city’s large commercial customers to make other arrangements and give private haulers time to obtain equipment to serve them.

“(And) the private haulers, in order to operate in the city, will have to have a license,” 4th Ward Councilman Scott Dressel said. “So if someone wants to haul trash for commercial customers, they should contact the city first and get a license.”

For residential customers, Dressel, a member of council’s utility committee, said one of the biggest changes involves how much trash they can put out without having to pay more for their monthly service.

Each customer was issued a trash cart when the city changed to the new, standardized containers. Under the new rules, he said households generating excess waste will be able to lease up to two additional trash carts and fill up all three without impacting their monthly service bill.

There’s a one-time lease fee of $55 per additional container, however.

“You’ll still have to pay a one-time lease fee for the extra cans,” Dressel said, “but you can have up to three containers with no additional monthly charge.”

And, while the new ordinance does away with the twice-a-year spring and fall citywide bulk items pickups, customers in good standing will be able to call in and schedule up to two private bulk pickups a year at a time of their choosing at no additional charge. Customers should contact the sanitation department to schedule one of their free pickups.

“Landlords can’t use that (feature),” he said. “The only way is if the water, sewer and electric to (a property) is in their name.”

Dressel pointed out the basic bulk collection rules still apply.

“You have to bag the small stuff and put it out neatly,” he said. “And, nothing illegal: No tires, no electronics, no refrigerant items, no batteries, no paint.”

He said eliminating the citywide bulk cleanups has the added advantage of “addressing problems with scavengers and people coming here and dumping trash” on Steubenville streets. In the past, people from other communities often would illegally dump their bulk items in front of Steubenville properties in hopes that authorities wouldn’t notice.

“And, after you use up your two free pickups or if you have something you want to throw away and don’t want to use your special collection for it, you can still call” and schedule a special pickup, he adds, though there would be additional fee — $5 per bag, with a $25 minimum.

Dressel concedes council took a lot of time to figure out what it needed to do get sanitation back on track, in part because, “we have a trash and litter problem that is complicated (to fix).”

“If we could get folks to stop littering, we would have it all solved,” he added.

Dressel said making the switch to city-issued trash carts a few years ago “helped eliminate litter because there were a couple of thousand (property owners) who, prior to this, never used a trash can and just put bags out. Those bag were ripped apart by cats, dogs and raccoons, making a mess.”

And, while the bulk cleanups of the past have always helped clean things up, “they also generated unintended problems,” he added, citing issues with scavengers and outsiders dumping their waste in city limits. “So having two private bulk cleanups a year, when (the customer chooses to schedule them), eliminates all the problems of having a publicly announced cleanup.”

He pointed out that while some people complained about the expense involved in switching to the cart system and buying the specially equipped lift trucks needed to service them, “keep in mind that funds raised by the sanitation fund can only be spent on sanitation, we can’t spend (that money) on water or sewer — that’s the law. So it was a good expense and it’s already making a difference.”

“The carts and lifts on the trucks to empty them make the job much safer for the guys emptying the trash,” he added. “Heavy cans no longer need to be lifted up manually. This reduces injuries on the job.”

City officials have said the changes will shave about $50,000 a year from the cash-strapped sanitation department’s bottom line.