Cleaning decades worth of trash

Published 05/08 2013 06:21PM

Updated 05/09 2013 10:01AM

DECATUR -- Garbage men traded in their regular trucks for heavy machinery. They cleaned up tons of trash in one day. They worked near the railroad tracks by Eldorado Street and Oakland Avenue.

They volunteered to do the job but it wasn't an easy one. Literally tons of trash had been piling up there, right in some people's backyards.

"It's been getting worse and worse," said Jimmy Adams. "A lot of garbage has been dumped back here for years. It's right in my backyard is what it is."

Volunteers started bright and early with a tall task to tackle.

"So far we've pulled out approximately 50 tons of garbage," said Advanced Disposal area manager Chris Rooney. "And we'll probably pull out another, somewhere between 50 and 100 tons."

The tires have been collecting there for decades but they are just one part of the problem. There were also refrigerators, stoves, carpet, cinder blocks and regular trash. The alley between the railroad tracks and the homes behind them is owned by the city. So when the mayor called for help, Advanced Disposal workers answered.

"We're garbage men and recyclers at heart and we don't like to see messes hanging around," said Rooney.

Neighbors said it looks better already. And they're grateful they'll be able to see their backyards again without so much other stuff in the way.

"My hope is once they get it straightened up and cleaned up, it'll stay like this," said Adams.

Getting all that stuff out is just half the battle. Some of it will end up in the landfill. But things like electronics, tires and landscaping materials have to be taken somewhere else where they can be disposed of safely.

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