Fall clean-up week in Bismarck aims to help the community declutter

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 3:20 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The city of Bismarck’s Public Works Department is busy collecting items for disposal at the landfill as part of Fall clean-up week.

This week, the streets of Bismarck are filled with the sights and sounds of garbage trucks and crews collecting items that have been placed on the curb to be taken to the landfill. This week, the crew’s days vary, some days even up to 10 hours long. They say they have seen it all in the garbage.

“Just a lot of everything, you name it, it’s been thrown,” said Dustin Long, carrier for the City of Bismarck.

A lot of help is needed to take out the trash. The landfill says they are borrowing 47 extra employees this week, and most are from the street department. Toby Sheldon, city landfill superintendent, says it’s a give-and-take for the extra staff.

“It’s extra money, but it’s also, they could be doing something else instead of helping us this week,” said Sheldon.

The carriers and drivers pretty much accept anything from suitcases to televisions. There’s one thing though that they won’t accept.

“We don’t take big piles of wood with nails in them,” said Travis Kudrna, a truck driver for the City of Bismarck.

Although the carriers like when the loads are lighter, garbage being scattered all over the place from people going through it makes their job a lot harder because they have to clean up the mess.

“As long as it’s not scattered about or torn into pieces, it’s good for us,” said Long.

When the truck is full, it weighs 26 tons.

“We have a blade in the back when it compacts and moves forward. Whenever that gets to the front of the truck, we know it’s time to go unload,” said Kudrna.

The whole point of the clean-up week is to just help the community declutter.

“I think it helps everybody out, there’s less stuff to store in their garage over the winter and it keeps our city looking nice,” said Sheldon.

It will be a long week, but the carriers say it is worth all of the hard work.

The city landfill says they collect up to 1,000 tons of trash during the fall and spring clean-up weeks. That is the equivalent of 500 average-size cars.