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Community frustrated after garbage litters lawns from overflowing recycling center

Posted at 10:01 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 00:18:59-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah - West Jordan residents said they're dealing with a mess of garbage blowing into their neighborhood, from a recycling plant next door.

The Waste Management Salt Lake Recycling Center sits on 4000 West, across from a neighborhood of several homes and townhomes.

When the winds whip up, locals say various garbage items and plastic bags collect in their yards and trees.

This time of year, the trees and flowers are blooming in many of the yards.

Pascal Langevin's tulips sprouted up from the ground, but among the foliage, sits garbage littering his garden.

"I don't use fertilizer so that's not mine," he said, picking up an empty fertilizer bag sitting in his yard.

Langevin walked around, picking up plastic wrap, newspaper and other items that he says he finds in his yard frequently.

"I'm just like rolling my eyes. Not again," he said.

Down the street in a different cul-de-sac, Jesse Olson points out areas he recently cleaned up.

"All underneath the windowsill," he explained, looking toward the front of his house.

Last week during the wind storms, Olson said trash floated in the air all around his home from the Waste Management facility.

"Looked like a tornado of garbage," he said, describing the sight.

A couple blocks from Olson, Julie Barfuss and her husband Randy found piles of garbage in their yard.

She said items ranged from dirty diapers to styrofoam, greeting cards, kids homework and payroll stubs with social security numbers.

"We spent Saturday-- 3 1/2 hours-- picking up trash," Barfuss said.

Now, not two days later as that trash fill four bags in her garbage bin, more trash litters her yard.

"It's constant," Barfuss expressed with frustration. "We come home, there's always something to be picked up."

She complained to Waste Management last week, but Barfuss said she didn't hear back. Then she contacted the City of West Jordan, and she said they referred her to the Salt Lake County Health Department. The health department, she said, stated on their website that they don't deal with trash on private property.

"It's so frustrating," she said. "Why is this my responsibility to constantly be picking up the trash?"

A spokesperson for Waste Management told Fox 13 they make cleanup crews available to send out to homes, and they urged neighbors to call them to set that up.

They said they regularly send crews to clean up public areas, but that they can't clean up private property without permission.

For Julie and her husband, she said cleaning up the mess doesn't necessarily solve the problem when it comes to the big picture.

"Are they going to come over every week? Every other day, or every storm? Do I call them every time?" She asked.

She and the other neighbors indicated they want to see some other solution that stops the trash from flying over in the first place.

The Salt Lake County Health Department said they received a complaint last week, and an inspector visited the site. They said Waste Management promised to work on it. After that visit, the health department said it received another complaint.

The City of West Jordan told Fox 13 that Waste Management agreed to be a good neighbor to adjacent property owners, as part of the terms of the facility's conditional use permit.

A representative of the city said they are now reviewing that permit and will be working with Waste Management to resolve the issue.