Residents enjoy free landfill week

William Thompson

A number of Tucumcari residents are taking advantage of the free dumping allowed by city government at the Tucumcari landfill just north of town. The free dumping remains in effect through May 1.

City employee Louis Molinas, who works at the landfill, said he was seeing more people than usual out at the dump site. “As of 1 p.m. today (Monday) we’ve had 27 people come out here to dump waste. That’s just for one day.” said Molinas. “That’s more than the number of people who normally come here in a whole week.” Molinas said residents are bringing a large variety of items to the landfill.
“I’ve seen sofas, beds, washers and dryers, tires and tree branches,” said Molinas. “The only things people are not allowed to dump are oil-based paints, batteries and toxic waste.”

Ben Montano arrived at the landfill early Monday afternoon with a pickup truck full of assorted junk and debris. Montano said a friend heard on the radio about the free dumping.
“I had a lot of stuff in my back yard I needed to get rid of,” said Montano. “When the junk piles up it attracts rats.”
Montano said the reason for all the debris in his yard was that he periodically picks up discarded items he finds in local alleyways.

“I go cruising the neighborhoods looking for stuff people throw out,” said Montano. “I pick up the junk because I live here in Tucumcari, and I want to do my part to clean up the city.” Montano said he would not have to pick up discarded junk if more people used dumpsters in their neighborhoods. “I wish people would use their dumpsters like they’re supposed to,” he said. “And when the dumpsters are full people leave their junk around the dumpster instead of waiting til there is enough room in the dumpsters. That leads to junk piling up, making the city look bad.”

Montano said the city usually picks up debris twice a week from city dumpsters, but sometimes debris is picked up only once a week. “When they only empty the dumpsters once a week, the junk really starts to pile up.” Tucumcari’s Sanitation Superintendent, Larry Moore, said he has looked into allegations that his drivers were not making all of their necessary pick ups. He said it is simply not true that his drivers are neglecting their duties. “I’ve investigated cases where people have said a pick up was not made,” said Moore. From what I have seen my drivers are making all of their required pick ups.”

Moore said some people may not know that holidays can interfere with normal debris pick up. “Some weeks there are holidays, and we only will pick up once that week,” he said. “But we try to make up for it with extra pick ups the following week. Also, some people wait til a dumpster is emptied and then immediately fill it with debris, making it appear as though no one has been by to empty the dumpster.”