Vandergrift’s trash haulers may soon stop picking up large furniture such as sofas with the regular garbage collection.
Council has authorized Solicitor Larry Loperfito to makes changes to the borough’s trash collection rules to prohibit borough crews from taking upholstered furniture and mattresses.
Instead, residents would have to contact private trash haulers and pay them to pick up such items.
The reasons are twofold: an increasing amount of furniture that’s added to the waste the borough collects, which raises the cost that the landfill charges for dumping; and pests, such as bedbugs and lice, that nest in the furniture could pose a hazard for borough workers.
That action came after a debate initiated by Councilwoman Christine Wilson at the May 2 council meeting.
“Our landfill charges have increased, and I’ve heard they’re going to go up again,” said Wilson, chairman of the streets and sanitation committee.
Borough Manager Steve DelleDonne said the borough pays $48 per ton to unload its garbage at the landfill. If those fees increase, borough officials might have to consider raising the quarterly garbage rate to cover it.
Then there is the issue of the insect pests, Wilson said.
“All upholstered furniture harbors those bugs,” she said.
Wilson said borough workers can easily end up carrying those pests into their homes if the bugs get onto their clothing, adding that they only have work gloves to protect them.
Loperfito said that one of the workers had bug bites up and down his arms because of the situation.
Councilwoman Daisha Clayton suggested having residents pay an additional fee to have such items picked up, to at least increase revenue from the service.
Wilson said she made inquiries with other municipalities and found that’s what most of them do.
“I really am concerned with the disease and bugs and the health of the workers,” Councilman Tom Holmes said.
“Maybe we should change our ordinance to where we are not picking up furniture,” he said. “We have to put some teeth in it if we do it.”
Council members appeared to have a general agreement with Holmes’ proposition.
As for how residents would dispose of those items if council takes that step, Loperfito said the borough would have to provide residents with a list of area companies that provide such a service. He said there are at least two that he is aware of locally.
“You have to make sure that what they’re going to charge is appropriate,” he said, adding that while the borough can provide a list of the companies it can’t recommend one over another.
Council unanimously agreed to have Loperfito draw up legal paperwork to allow for such a change.. It does not become final until council approves it..