City crews confront bulky item pickup problems

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After being delayed for weeks because of storm debris pickup during the winter, the city's bulky item collections are getting back on schedule.

In our continuing problem solver spotlight on illegal dumping, FOX4 has learned people aren't following the rules to get rid of things like couches, refrigerators and other appliances.

Most appliances and furniture can be hauled away for free if the owner schedules a bulky item pickup, instead of illegally dumping their property in a parking lot.

City photos show what crews often encounter on a bulky item pickup. Bags of trash and debris that's not supposed to be there. Investigators say some are thinking of "bulk" as a noun: "a great mass" of garbage.

Instead, "bulky" means an item that is cumbersome to handle, like a mattress or a home appliance.

When a city truck with a giant claw comes to pick up a bulky item, it can't pick up bags and boxes of trash, which often end up becoming an illegal dump.

"Different trash goes to different places," said Alan Ashurst, the city's illegal dumping investigator. "All of a sudden you have piles of tires. You've got limbs and brush. Yard waste with bags of garbage, with furniture. All of that goes in different spots. It's not up to crews to go out there and sift through it and figure out what goes where. It's up to you to follow the rules."

Among the rules to remember: Ashurst says citizens are limited to 15 bulky items on any one pickup. No trash bags or boxes. Property owners must schedule an appointment. That is usually at least two weeks from your call. Ashurst says owners can't put their bulky items at the curb until 3 p.m. the day before the appointment because that attracts others to pile up their trash next to it.

Because of storm debris collection during the winter, bulky item appointments were pushed back as much as six weeks. But if you are patient and follow these rules, Ashurst says everyone can help keep the city clean.

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