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Sioux Falls looking to address trash collection ordinance

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:23 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There is a controversy brewing in Sioux Falls about where residents can and cannot place their trash bins.

The current city ordinance doesn’t allow garbage containers to be placed curbside, but the city and sanitation services want that to change.

Many people are used to taking their garbage out to the end of the driveway or putting it on the curb for trash collection day, but in Sioux Falls, that’s not actually the way it’s supposed to work. Now, the city is looking to address the confusion.

For years, sanitary services have provided valet pickup. That changed during the pandemic, with the city council requesting residents take their own cans to the curb as a way to ease the workload on sanitary employees.

As of a couple of months ago, the council reinstated that portion of the city’s ordinance.

“It’s a luxury, I believe, for our residents to have that ability to have it picked up at the house and have the can be returned to the house,” Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr said.

But now, the city wants to simplify and make the community’s trash collection ordinance consistent, saying the main goal is to bring flexibility to the residents.

“The proposal is to allow curbside, not mandate it, so you actually have a choice as a property owner, you can have that agreement directly with your hauler,” Mark Cotter, Sioux Falls Public Works Executive Director, said. “Most people didn’t even know that we had an ordinance that guided garbage can placement.”

Trash collection businesses are backing the city’s proposal, A-OK Sanitary Service telling Dakota News Now the move would streamline their service and keep employees safe.

It also has environmental benefits.

“Sioux Falls is a leader in sustainability,” Cotter said. “We know if a waste hauler is parked in front of your house for 20-40 seconds, as opposed to two minutes... we get immediate impact with air quality.”

However, Councilor Starr says there are hazards to residents if the proposed ordinance is adopted, especially for the elderly or disabled.

“What they’re looking for actually transfers the risk to the homeowner,” Starr said. “I think you’ll see a lot of discussion over the next week, but I think ultimately we’re going to clean up the language and keep it the way it is.”

The first reading of the ordinance was passed by the city council last night; the second reading will happen next Tuesday.

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