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Staff photo by Sam Pearson
Mark Dvorak, operations superintendent for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management Division, talks to Burrtec employee Thomas Burkhart at the Barstow Landfill in this Feb. 8 file photo.

County ends Free Dump Day

Waste division cuts costs

BARSTOW • Next month’s Free Dump Day will be the last, city officials say.

The twice-a-year event — scheduled for April 14 — is unaffordable for the county, which is working to close a $13.3 million budget deficit in its Solid Waste Division.

Area residents can use the landfill at 32553 Barstow Rd. at no cost April 14 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, as well as other county landfill facilities. Items like tires, electronic waste and hazardous waste cannot be dumped for free and all loads must be covered and secured, the county said in a statement.

Rex Richardson, public information officer for the Solid Waste Division, said surrounding counties no longer offered these kind of programs, but other options exist for residential customers to dispose of large items.

City Manager Curt Mitchell said at Monday’s City Council meeting that ending the event fit with the state’s goals of eliminating landfill waste.

“Residents will be encouraged to find ways to reduce, reuse or recycle items they no longer want,” Mitchell said.

Offering to take refuse for free “kind of sends the wrong message,” Richardson said.

Barstow Councilman Tim Saenz said he appreciated having Free Dump Days for the community but understood the problems the county was facing.

“It’s a good thing, but if it’s financially not working out, I don’t see any other option,” Saenz said.

Even though the county has pulled the plug on the event, residents still have other ways to dispose of items without paying fees. Residents of single family residential homes can receive two free dump passes and two free curbside pickups of bulky items from Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc. every 12 months.

County officials have discussed the possibility of closing low-volume rural landfills like Barstow’s facility, but the county Board of Supervisors has yet to decide on the issue.

Revenue has declined significantly at the landfills in recent years. The county’s landfill system processes about 35 percent less refuse than in 2007.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com


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