Recycling, trash management brings changes to Kaweah Country

 

It’s been a fact of life in California’s town and cities for more than a decade. Folk music icon and activist Pete Seeger even recorded a song about it in 2009  — a tribute to the city of Berkeley, Calif., for leading the way in recycling and establishing a new city department called the Zero Waste Commission.

If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired

Rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold

Recycled or composted

Then it should be restricted, redesigned

Or removed from production.

                            Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

 

Three Rivers and Tulare County are not quite ready to establish zero waste commissions, perhaps, but since Mid Valley Disposal took over local trash service in 2013, servicing Three Rivers and the local national parks, the times they are a-changing. Most of the large dumpsters that served several households, rural communities, and ranches are gone for good.

They have been replaced by the familiar curbside containers: brown for garbage, blue for recycling, and black for yard clippings. 

In addition to the statewide mandate to recycle and reduce landfill disposal, new emission air quality standards have dictated that the company operate smaller and more efficient collection trucks.

 

New disposal protocol in the Mineral King area

The more than 100 cabins in Mineral King and Silver City along the upper reaches of the Mineral King Road will implement new trash disposal practices starting Memorial Day weekend, the traditional opener for most cabin owners. Cabin owners in Silver City and leaseholders in Mineral King, typically use their mountain properties from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

In the past, the Mineral King cabin community disposed of their trash at two dumpsters near a picnic area just above the entrance to Cold Springs Campground in an area centrally located to most of the Mineral King area cabin users. Marty Stone, 46, of Three Rivers, drove the Mineral King Road each Saturday throughout the summer season to collect what was in those dumpsters and at Silver City.

Stone, who began working the route in 2001 in the employ of Waste Management Inc., knows every turn and blind corner in the 25 miles of narrow mountain roadway. He has a remarkable safety record and over the years has helped many other motorists in distress or who are just stressed due to the challenging mountain route.

Those weekly trips will no longer be necessary. Mineral King area cabin owners and the Silver City Resort will share one 30 cubic yard container furnished by Mid Valley Disposal on a cleared lot on the resort property. The new service will take more effort on the part of Mineral King cabin owners as the trash receptacle is no longer an evening's walk away but is now two miles away via the narrow mountain road. The collection station, however, now ensures that the monthly pickup service complies with State of California emission standards and trash management regulations.

The new bear-proof container will mean that fewer locations will be needed to collect and store garbage so that should help keep the wildlife wild, Mid Valley Disposal reports. National Park Service maintenance employees will continue to collect the trash from campgrounds, restrooms, and bear-proof receptacles that are distributed throughout the Mineral King area for campers and day-use visitors.

 

Letter from Mid Valley Disposal's operations manager regarding changes in Mineral King trash services

To The Kaweah Commonwealth:

In August 2013, Mid Valley Disposal began providing seasonal trash collection services to the Mineral King area of the Sequoia National Park.

A specialized collection truck with a low-profile body and short single-axle wheelbase has enabled MVD to safely operate on the Mineral King Road. Due to emissions restrictions imposed by the California Air Resources Board, by May 2015, that specialized collection vehicle could no longer legally operate in the State of California. Purchasing a new collection vehicle with similar safety functions to service the area would result in increased monthly cost, curtailment of improvements to recycling programs, and negative environmental impact on this pristine area of our National Park System.

Mid Valley Disposal will continue to service the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park. By making several changes to the current collection operations, Mid Valley Disposal will prioritize the integrity of the forest and its wildlife while complying with all State mandates, providing minimal inconvenience to customers. 

MVD is currently working with community leaders to centrally place a bear-proof refuse container with sufficient capacity to provide for all homes and customers within the service area. This enhanced refuse collection service will be safe, efficient, and environmentally conscious by minimizing noise pollution and road travel. 

Additionally through this new collection system, MVD will have the ability to implement new recycling programs that weren’t possible with the old system.

The National Park Service will continue to service the Atwell Mill sites utilizing its own resources.

Mid Valley Disposal is dedicated to providing the Central Valley and its surrounding areas with the highest level of refuse and recycling collection services available. We are continuously striving to streamline existing operational processes, while maintaining compliance with increased federal regulations. 

If you have any further questions regarding MVD’s new collection system in the Mineral King area, please feel free to contact me:

Isaac Kulikoff, operations manager

Phone: (559) 567-0640

Email: isaack@midvalleydisposal.com

Kingsburg, Calif.

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