Successful Dump Day in Vallejo, CA
Shawn Brewer, right, with Labor Ready, helps Vallejo resident Jaime Hernandez empty the contents of his truck bed into a dumpster during Saturday’s ‘Dump Day’ behind the Vallejo City Hall. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD
By Dianne de Guzman, Vallejo Times-Herald
Cars and trucks sit in a line from Georgia Street to Florida Street along Mare Island Way, part of the hundreds of Vallejoans who waited in the blocks around Vallejo’s City Hall on Saturday to take advantage of the city’s free ‘Dump Day’ at City Hall. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD
The line of cars stretched for blocks on Saturday morning, lined up from the parking lot of City Hall on Santa Clara Street, heading northward to Florida Street and then from Mare Island Way to Georgia Street.
A huge number of residents driving pickup trucks, some U-Haul vans and even a few sedans were packed to the brim waited for the chance to drop off the items that have crowded their Vallejo garages, bedrooms, yards and more.
Dump Day had officially begun.
Residents endured what officials estimated was nearly a two-hour wait to leave their trash in city dumpsters, free of charge.
Sorted into different categories, cars were directed through the City Hall parking lot, dropping off e-waste such as computers, old tube televisions and vacuums, or tires and furniture items, to general trash.
Jeff Kruljac, operations supervisor at Recology, said that when workers first arrived at City Hall at 6:30 a.m. to set up dumpsters, at least 20 residents were waiting to get a jump on the line.
When asked at noon how many residents had come through — with only an hour left before the end time for Dump Day — Kruljac was at a loss.
“I can’t even begin to tell you,” Kruljac said from the head of the line of cars. “It’s been a constant stream since we opened up the gates at 8 o’clock. This line has not stopped.”
Kruljac said that four hours into the event, organizers had hauled at least 15 dumpsters full of trash by his estimate, saying the goal was to “get ‘em in, load ‘em up and move ‘em on.” Mattresses and tires were two items that the company had received a number of and Kruljack said that they had hauled away five or six trucks each, of both items.
According to Vallejo’s recycling coordinator, Derek Crutchfield, by his estimates about 600 participants had come through the City Hall parking lot at noon — with plenty more lined up to drop off items. To deal with the volume of cars, organizers said they would cut the line of residents off at 1 p.m. and allow everyone already in line to continue to leave their items.
Due to an unclear report from the Times-Herald, a number of residents had left several trash items at City Hall just a week before, totalling 14,000 pounds of trash that were hauled away by city and Recology workers. In spite of that event, Crutchfield said that he was not expecting a crowd of this size on Saturday.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” Crutchfield said of the line of cars. “This is way more than I anticipated. I thought it would be busy and I anticipated it maybe going up the street, but I didn’t anticipate it looping back around (to Mare Island Way).”
Although those in the line suggested that Dump Day should be a monthly event, Crutchfield said that he hoped to hold another event like this soon. Addressing the wait times, Crutchfield said that while he was pleased with the turnout, there is room for improvement.
“We’ll just try to do it again in the fall,” Crutchfield said. “This will help us to plan better for the next event and hopefully we’ll get better at it.”
With the large amount of trash generated by Dump Day, the upside was that the trash collected would not be illegally dumped on the streets of Vallejo.
A group of 12 men from House of Acts, a substance abuse treatment program in Vallejo, were on hand to help residents load items off their trucks and into dumpsters. Jose Madrigal was part of that group, saying that their workforce program directly deals with illegal dumping and that they’re the ones who wind up picking up items left around Vallejo. Madrigal said it felt good that the city was collecting all this trash.
“...This helps for people doing illegal dumping,” Madrigal said. “A lot of times, like the alleyways that we clean, a lot of people do that: They throw all their stuff in the alley. It’s cool that they’re doing this because it brings (illegal dumping) down a lot.”