Harrington recommits to yard waste services for residents … for now

HARRINGTON — Yard waste is becoming a problem in Harrington.

Traditionally, residents and contractors working on buildings within city limits could drop yard waste off to the Public Works Yard located at 102 Franklin St. in Harrington every week on Wednesdays. This included grass clippings, Christmas trees, leaves, brush and tree limbs or branches up to 4 inches in diameter. Household trash, animal waste, fencing, treated wood, outdoor furniture and dirt is not considered yard waste.

City Manager Don Williams put a short end to yard waste drop offs in Harrington after discovering the Public Works Yard was quickly running out of room.

“I stopped it because when I walked out there, I looked at the area and saw that it was cluttered and very high,” he said. “We’re getting close to crossing over the boundary lines. The church is next door and there’s a lot of wetlands out there.

“People look out and they see all this wide-open space, but there’s wetlands there and I can’t do anything with it. Over the 10 years, we’ve been allowing them to do it, that little area we had is now level and full.”

The revelation caused Mr. Williams to cancel the yard waste program altogether.

A notice was published on the city of Harrington’s website which read, in part, “The city of Harrington is discontinuing the Wednesday yard waste drop-off program due to a lack of available space. Yard waste will still be accepted during the spring and fall clean up. We apologize for any inconvenience. Yard waste can be taken to Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) sites. The Milford Transfer Station and Sandtown Landfill are the closest locations. Fees will apply.”

It went on to suggest composting and emphasized that yard waste cannot be mixed with household trash, a statewide ban that went into place in 2007.

Residents weren’t quite ready for such a drastic change, however. After fielding the phone calls from concerned citizens, Mr. Williams made a “change to the change” as they work to accept yard waste again, he said.

A note in the city of Harrington’s newsletter published Wednesday, April 3 reads, “The city’s yard waste program was halted in March due to a lack of space available for disposal but will be resuming on a trial basis starting on April 3.”

The time off from yard waste drop offs gave Mr. Williams enough time to call Charlie’s Waste Service, which has served the city since 2017.

They delivered a receptacle for yard waste at the Public Works Yard to be later disposed of through their services.

“I said, ‘Let’s see how long it takes to fill that up. Everybody can bring whatever they want, but no dirt because it weighs a lot and costs citizens a lot of money.

“And no brush over 4 inches of diameter or 6 feet in length,” he explained.

Yard waste deliveries will be monitored over the next few months to see how much money it costs and if it needs to be included in the city of Harrington’s budget in the future.

Alternative options

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, DNREC, offers several suggestions to residents hoping to rein in their own yard waste.

Leaving mulched leaves, grass and smaller branches on a yard will offer a free natural fertilizer to the grass, they contend in a brochure entitled, “What to do with yard waste in Delaware.”

“Leaves and grass can be mixed together in a pile or container to break down into compost, a soil-like natural fertilizer that you can use to turbocharge your garden, at no extra cost. Composting can be done year-round, and can include vegetable scraps from your kitchen,” the brochure states.

DNREC has also teamed up with Enviro World to sell compost bins to Delaware residents for $50 each. Made of recycled content, the bins “enhance the decomposition process,” according to Enviro World.

The bins can be purchased, along with accessories, online at http://enviroworld.us/delaware.

Other yard waste drop-off sites, like the two suggested by the city of Harrington, can also be discovered by calling 302-739-9403 ext. 1.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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