The Town of Vinton has some simple rules for the correct way to dispose of household and light commercial business waste.
According to Kevin Craighead, the crew leader for refuse collection, “Put the trash in bags; put the bags in a trash can with a tight-fitting lid; take the trash to the point of collection (curb or alley) no earlier than 7 p.m. the day before scheduled collection; remove the containers back to the side or rear of the residence by 7 p.m. on collection day. These actions will mitigate the effects of animal activity or weather spreading loose trash into yards and streets.”
Following the rules will help the town, and also the crew members who pick up refuse from approximately 600 homes and businesses each day for a total of 3300 each week.
Vinton’s Public Works Department is well known throughout the valley for the cleanliness of the streets and for snow removal. Public Works crews are also well known to residents who sometimes come out to chat with them on their weekly collection day. Many Public Works employees are Vinton residents and take extra pride in keeping the town in top-notch shape.
Craighead has been working for Vinton Public Works for 15 years. He has a crew of three, Chris Smith, Mark Atkins, and Don Hamilton who begin work at 5:45 a.m. on weekdays and finish up about 2 p.m. Once the refuse is picked up, they deliver it to the Roanoke Valley Regional Authority transfer station.
The crew says that 13-gallon bags placed inside 32- to 45-gallon trash cans with lids would be best practice. That allows them to remove the trash bags from the cans and carry them to the truck without moving the cans themselves.
The town has ordinances in the Town Code that set the guidelines for trash disposal. Public Works Director Joey Hiner asks Vinton residents to follow the rules for refuse disposal because “it is the right thing to do and it is also the law by Town Code.” It is not the job of the refuse collection crew to police yards when animals or the effects of weather have resulted in trash dispersed across a yard or street.
According to the town website, “The Town of Vinton wants to reduce litter and promote a clean, neat appearance in the neighborhoods, streets, business areas, and all around the town. Residents and merchants can play a part in this effort when placing refuse out for collection by observing the rules.”
For over a year, Town Council members, at the behest of Councilwoman Janet Scheid, has focused on ridding Vinton of litter. They formed a Litter Task Force to come up with ways to reduce litter tossed from vehicles, and in shopping, commercial, and residential areas.
“The town staff is dedicated to improving our image through reducing litter and making Vinton a beautiful place to live,” said Town Manager Barry Thompson
Town Council and staff have held Clean-up Days each spring. In July 2017, council passed an ordinance reducing the penalty for disposing of trash out of vehicles from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction with a $50 fine, making it easier to enforce.
Vinton Police Chief Tom Foster feels that “the ordinance will better meet the needs of our community and is less punitive in nature.”
The Clean Valley Council is offering a series of educational programs on litter in the school system.
Foster and Thompson met with Roanoke County Sheriff Eric Orange and were able to get Inmate Services through the Sheriff’s Department to assist with litter pickup in Vinton.
“The work the litter committee has done has been incredibly important and we, in conjunction with the town departments, have made great strides in just a short period of time in reducing the litter along our streets and private properties,” said Scheid. “There is more work to do but I am very encouraged that we are making a difference in improving the environmental quality of our town and improving the appearance and perception of Vinton. “
Scheid said she has “fielded inquiries from several other localities about our new litter ordinance. It appears that Vinton is once again leading the way!”
Council has initiated an education campaign to teach citizens the correct way to dispose of residential and commercial garbage. Over the next few months, residents will receive reminders of the code by way of the town website, door hangers, and visits from refuse collection/Public Works personnel. In January, the town plans to begin sending letters to residents and businesses notifying them of non-compliance.
The town plans to put some teeth in the request for compliance. After a warning period, which is planned to end in January 2018, penalties will be enforced.
Upon the first notification of non-compliance, the refuse crew leaders will try to speak to violators or leave a door-hanger detailed warning notice to inform of the issue, with the intent of education before a second violation notice is required.
Upon a second violation, a letter will be issued by Public Works describing the violation, and providing instructions for proper handling of solid waste. The notice will be delivered or mailed by certified letter.
A third violation will result in refuse not being picked up. An affidavit citing the facts of the violation will be prepared and issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. The penalty will be treated as a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is a fine of not more than $250.
The town has placed a notice concerning the refuse collection rules on the town website under the “Vinton News” section and on the Facebook pages. The annual Town Calendar delivered to each household in early December contains the rules and regulations as well as holiday and recycling schedules.
In legalize, here is what the code states:
- Section 78.2(a) of the Vinton Town Code states that the owner, lessee or occupant of every residence, building, or place of business must provide at all times, suitable and sufficient sanitary refuse containers which shall be leakproof with tightfitting tops and handles. In conjunction with such containers, other containers, such as plastic bags, of adequate strength to hold and retain all garbage and liquid substances, and whatever rubbish may be mixed therewith, from such building, residence or place of business. If this is a rental property, the person who provides the trash containers is a civil landlord/tenant issue that the Town does not regulate.
- Section 78.2(b) of the Vinton Town Code states that the occupants of every residence, building, or place or business, shall deposit any refuse, garbage, liquid substances and rubbish of any sort to be collected and disposed of inside of a suitable container, described in Section 78.2(a) above.
- Section 78.3(a) of the Vinton Town Code states that you may place your refuse container(s) at your street-side property line or at the curb for collection, during the hours and days designated by the town manager. At all other times, the containers must be kept at a location to the side or rear of a dwelling.
Those who are medically unable to follow the standard rules may call Public Works at 983-0646 for assistance.
“By working together we hope to keep Vinton a clean, vibrant, inviting place to live, work, and play– and be an example to the rest of the Valley,” Hiner said.