Longtime yard waste facilities at Cattaraugus County’s two closed landfills will close on Oct. 5.
Operated by the county Department of Public Works, both yard waste facilities were largely unsupervised and ungated.
Yard waste expanded from homeowners bringing in grass clipping, leaves and a few branches to commercial companies who often bought in large logs and stumps from tree removal.
Last year, county lawmakers had to approve payment to grind the branches and large pieces of trees that approached $100,000, said Public Works Committee Chairman Richard Helmich Jr., R-Delevan.
After new video cameras and signs were installed, the problem persisted. Signs at the Farwell site in Ischua clearly states that trees over 4 inches in diameter are prohibited. The same signs are at the Five Points site in Mansfield.
Public Works solid waste staff were unable to use the video to make arrests as a deterrent, however. The video system recorded license plate numbers but not what was unloaded.
Charles Gordner, director of Weights and Measures who is overseeing the closing of the yard waste facilities, said county officials want to encourage homeowners to mulch in place on their own properties.
“We know it’s not possible for everyone, that’s why we will take it at the transfer stations,” Gordner said.
Helmich, who said the Farwell site in Ischua “had gotten way out of control.” The reason for closing the was mostly “commercial guys” who abused the facilities — mostly Farwell.
“Cattaraugus County got stuck with the bill to grind up all that material,” Helmich added. The cost approached $100,000 he added.
“We’re going to try an education program to try to get folks to compost at home,” Helmich said. In the meantime, they are set to close Oct. 5.
The alternative will be to pay $1 a bag for disposing of yard waste at the transfer stations or $5 a cubic yard — a pickup can hold 2 ½-3 cubic yards.