By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Until a Dumpster is overturned and emptied on a lawn, it’s hard to imagine just how much garbage it will hold.
For those who saw the pile of garbage at 702 Pine Street in Colfax the afternoon of Wednesday, March 11, or the morning of Thursday, March 12 — they no longer have to imagine what it looks like.
It all started around 2:30 p.m. March 11 when Jason Johnson, who has worked as a seasonal employee for the village’s public works department, called Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, to say there was “a pile of mess” at 702 Pine Street.
The house has been empty for about a year, and the Dumpster has been in the yard since at least last summer.
The bank had apparently hired a company called Safeguard, and Safeguard arranged for a Dumpster from Johnson Roll-off Service in Eau Claire, Niggemann said.
And that’s when the problem started.
Johnson Roll-off did not get paid the $475 for their Dumpster and wanted their Dumpster back, Niggemann said.
Safeguard would not give the name of the bank to Johnson Roll-off. So, Johnson Roll-off dumped the Dumpster on the lawn and removed their equipment, she said.
According to the Safeguard Properties website, the company “is the mortgage field services industry leader, preserving vacant and foreclosed properties across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam.”
Niggemann said she called Johnson Roll-off to find out why they had not contacted the village.
If Johnson Roll-off did not get paid, the company could have called the village, the village would have paid the bill, and the village would have then put the bill for the Dumpster onto the property taxes for the house, Niggemann explained.
“I asked, ‘what are you willing to do to fix this?’” she said.
Johnson Roll-off agreed to bring a Dumpster back to Colfax.
The Village of Colfax hired Todd Higbie, owner of Bobcat Pro, to bring in equipment to clean up the mess and put the garbage back into a Dumpster.
There was some concern that with the recent melting of snow, the lawn would be too soft for the village’s equipment, Niggemann said.
Village employees also assisted with the clean-up, and when the garbage was back into the Dumpster, Johnson Roll-off loaded the Dumpster and took it away.
Niggemann said she had wanted to use a local business to bring a Dumpster and called Viking Disposal, but the company would not have been able to bring the receptacle for two days, and the pile of garbage needed to be cleaned up right away.
By around noon on March 12, the garbage was gone from the yard at 702 Pine Street.
Old tires were also part of the pile, and Niggemann said Johnson Roll-off would not take the tires, so village employees will have to dispose of them at the county’s collection site.
The Dumpster was full of trash bags, some of which presumably contained food waste, and numerous other items such as chairs, televisions, toys, dishes, mattresses, bed sheets, blankets, rugs, clothing, step ladders, wall hangings, extension cords, and Christmas decorations.