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Tue, July 14

Ash Fork gets dumped-stered
Area garbage woes come to a close

Residents living south of Ash Fork in the Juniper Wood Ranch area can rest assured that their garbage woes are coming to a close.

Since June 26, the residents of the remote, secluded area have been without trash pickup, leaving many wondering why.

"I've had a dumpster at the end of the road for 10 years along with about 25 other dumpsters that 30-40 people use," area resident Sue Atkinson said. "Waste Management came out once a month to empty them. Then June 26, they came out and took them all away."

Atkinson was alarmed after receiving no prior notice of the reason for their removal.

"I heard there have been meetings, but I was never notified and I don't know what types of meetings they were," she said.

"My house is three miles from the pavement and it's my understanding that they will only come one mile off the pavement to pick up trash. Now I've got all my trash piled up and have been burning some of it. Luckily, I've asked my boss at work if I can bring some of my trash, which is okay. I'm just afraid some people out there are going to start dumping illegally."

According Yavapai County Public Works, no curbside trash pickup is provided by the county in any area.

Yavapai County District One supervisor Carol Springer explained that the Juniper Wood Ranch properties are all zoned rural. The remoteness of the properties creates a situation in which landowners are responsible for many of their own amenities including water, power, phone, garbage and recycling.

"When purchasing those parcels buyers sign a seller's disclosure statement so that the they have an understanding of the area when they buy," Springer said. "The closest transfer stations are in Seligman and Prescott. Once per year in Ash Fork we also have a public disposal day, which we call the Community Cleanup."

Springer explained that due to the developing nature of the area, some discussion has occurred between herself and the Coconino County Solid Waste Division about ways to provide more appropriate local trash and recycling services to Ash Fork residents.

An area landowner explained that for 10 years, the Gospel of Faith Church allowed area residents to house dumpsters on church property. When the church property was rezoned, the church pastor began working with Waste Management to create a temporary plan until a permanent solution could be found.

Waste Management public relations director Don Cassano said that because road conditions in the Juniper Wood Ranch community are highly variable due to weather, Waste Management cannot provide service to the area.

"It's such a huge area and folks live so far out we couldn't go all the way out there," Cassano said. "It takes a real toll on the trucks."

Atkinson agreed. "So I guess the question is: 'Where can we put the dumpsters?'"

Waste Management market area sales manager for the state of Arizona Bob Coester and Flagstaff sales manager Rob Seipp explained their diligence in creating an alternative for the Juniper Wood Ranch residents and detailed the willingness of the Gospel of Faith Church pastor to work with Waste Management.

"We've just come up with a resolution," Coester said Friday.

He and Seipp explained that a dumpster in Ash Fork, which is fenced-in and secure, will be made available to Juniper Wood Ranch residents Aug. 14. This dumpster, which is housed at a local business, is serviced each Monday. This customer uses only one-half of the dumpster space and Waste Management anticipates that the Juniper Wood Ranch customers will use the other part of the dumpster. Each Monday, Waste Management will dump the said dumpster twice to accommodate the customers.

Seipp and Coester explained that Waste Management hopes to contact each former Juniper Wood Ranch customer by today to inform them of the changes and offer the new service.

For more information call Waste Management's toll free number at 800-796-9696 and indicate to the representative that you have an Ash Fork-related question.

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