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City of Muscatine Communication Blog

Hello and welcome to our blog. As the Communication Manager for the City of Muscatine, Iowa, I know the importance of communicating with residents and providing them with an understanding of the different functions of the City, why these functions are important to our residents, and what the City is doing for the future of our community.

Many times the story of the various activities, accomplishments, and happenings within the City are not told and we want to make sure that the people behind these activities, accomplishments, and happenings are duly recognized. We also want to explain our vision of the future for the City of Muscatine, something that we take great pride in.

Please check back in periodically to see updates on what's going on here in Muscatine! Please feel free to leave comments on individual postings--the comments will not be displayed here, but they will be emailed to me so that I can collect your thoughts and make adjustments based on the feedback and suggestions. Moderated comments are an option as we progress. Thanks for reading and I hope you find this to be an effective tool!

May 11

Bulky Waste Collection Program gets a makeover

Posted on May 11, 2020 at 7:25 PM by Kevin Jenison

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Curbside bulky waste collection has been a tremendous success, so much so that the Department of Public Works (DPW) has doubled the number of collections per day and lifted restrictions on scheduling to allow residents to plan for pickups weeks or months in advance.

“Maybe it is because more people are staying home following the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, or maybe it is just the season to do spring cleaning,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “Whatever the reason we have been receiving a lot of requests and have modified our procedures to meet those needs.”

Following discussions by Public Works staff last winter, the Curbside Bulky Waste Collection Program was launched in February to ease the financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with was formally called Spring Cleanup Week.

The Solid Waste Division of the Department of Public Works recommended the elimination of the designated Spring Cleanup Week in favor of a program that residents would be able to use throughout the year. Residents were already offered three free pickups per calendar year, which was never fully utilized, and the new program combine and expands on the old programs.

“The financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with the collection effort associated with Spring Cleanup Week were unnecessary,” Stineman said. “And it took resources away from work on other projects such as street repair.”

Initially the program had residents calling or emailing the Transfer Station to schedule a collection at least two days before and up to a week in advance of their refuse collection day. A maximum of 20 collections would be scheduled each day.

Demand for the city service exceeded expectations and resulted in increasing the number of pickups per day and allowing residents to schedule collections as far in advance as needed.

“Not only have we gone from 20 to 30 and now to 40 collections per day, we are now allowing residents to schedule future pickups as needed.” Stineman said.

Solid Waste Manager David Popp added that another reason for the changes was that the piles that the staff was seeing were exceeding the size limits of the program.

Many of the piles that we are seeing are exceeding the size as listed in the program,” Popp said. “If residents need to, they can schedule more than one week while on the phone.

Remember … the sticker may be in the mail but you have to request one first

Stineman also noted that residents who want to dispose of yard waste at the Compost Facility can do so during regular site hours but a Compost Facility Sticker is needed. If you do not have one yet, contact the Transfer Station and one will be mailed to you after verification of address.

Stickers would normally be available for pickup at the Transfer Station, Public Works, or City Hall but these facilities are currently closed to the public in response to COVID-19 guidelines.

Once the Transfer Station, and other City buildings, reopen to the public, the Compost Facility Stickers will be available at locations. Residents requesting a sticker will be asked for their name, address, phone number, and make and model of the vehicle they will use to bring waste to the Compost Facility.

The site is located at the Muscatine Transfer Station, 1000 S. Houser St., Muscatine. Regular hours are 12-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays.

So what can be left curbside for the city to collect?

Among the items accepted for residential curbside pickup are furniture (couch, chair, recliner, table), mattresses (must be in a bag), carpet (no longer than four feet, rolled, and secured), dismantled swing sets, minimal building materials (not to exceed a pick up load measuring 8’x4’x2’), extra trash bags (smaller items must be bagged), and appliances (two free per year per address).

“We are only accepting small quantities of construction materials,” David Poll, Solid Waste Manager, said. “And these materials should not have nails or screws protruding from them that may injure staff as they are picking them up.

Bags for mattresses are available for free at the Transfer Station. With the Transfer Station closed to the public at the present time, residents need to call the Transfer Station for directions on how to obtain a bag. Residents can also use the bag their new mattress came in.

What is not accepted for curbside pickup?

Among the items that will not be picked up as part of the bulky waste curbside collection are sheds, garages, and excessive building materials, concrete or brick, paint and household hazardous waste, camper refrigerator and camper air conditioners, car bodies, tires, electronics, and fencing.

Concrete or brick can be taken by the resident to the Public Works yard on Washington Street. Paint and household hazardous waste will be accepted at no charge at the Transfer Station once that location has reopened to the public.

Electronics will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee once that facility reopens to the public. A Free Electronics Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 13-18. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring three (3) electronics to the Transfer Station for disposal at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).

Tires will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee one that facility reopens to the public. A Free Tire Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 20-25. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring four (4) tires (off of the rim) to the Transfer Station at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).

Essential services maintained during COVID-19 outbreak

The stay-at-home guidelines associated with COVID-19 may have helped to increase interest in the collection effort, and the Department of Public Works has responded to meet that increased interest. This service to the citizens of Muscatine and Fruitland, along with the curbside collection of refuse, recycling, and yard waste, has continued during the COVID-19 outbreak.

CALL TO SCHEDULE CURBSIDE BULK PICKUP

Residents can call 563-264-JUNK (563-264-5865) or email bulkywaste@muscatineiowa.gov to schedule a curbside collection on the resident’s regular collection day. Due to the popularity of the program, residents are urged to contact the Transfer Station as soon as possible.

Pickups are completed on the residents’ regular refuse collection day but can be scheduled weeks in advance. The schedule for each collection day fills up fast and a resident may have to postpone their collection to a future date. If you email or leave a phone message with your name and phone number, a staff member will call, review the items to be picked up to ensure they are acceptable, and confirm the day for collection.

Visit Curbside Bulk Collection for more details.

CITY STILL PICKING UP YARD WASTE CURBSIDE

The City of Muscatine continues to offer curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, and garden waste placed in City of Muscatine Yard Waste bags on the residents’ regular refuse collection day. These bags are available at Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Main Street, and Fareway. They will also be available at the Transfer Station when that facility is open to the public.

Tree limbs and other trimmings from trees and shrubs will also be collected curbside as long as they are bundled with string or cord in four-foot lengths. Contact Public Works (563-263-8933) for curbside collection of larger tree limbs.

Bags, tree limbs, and other trimmings should be placed near refuse container on the day of scheduled pickup.

Visit Yard Waste Collection for more details.

COMPOST FACILITY OPEN BUT ONLY WITH A STICKER

The Compost Facility at the Muscatine Transfer Station remains open for residents of Muscatine and Fruitland to deposit yard waste but only to those who have the Compost Facility Sticker. The Compost sticker identifies residents of Muscatine and Fruitland who can take yard waste to the Compost Facility for free.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the Compost Facility attendants will not accept cash or checks at this time, thus limiting access to the facility to those who can prove there are residents of Muscatine with a sticker.

For more information, visit Compost Facility on the City of Muscatine website.


Feb 26

Recycled asphalt "cooked" into "new" hot mix for repairs

Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:04 PM by Kevin Jenison

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Roadway Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW) has a new tool in their arsenal to combat the numerous small street repair issues (pot holes, etc.) that are exposed every winter, a tool that that creates new hot asphalt mix using recycled asphalt.

Hot asphalt is usually not available during the winter months when the ground is not warm and dry enough. Hot asphalt is mixed at 300 degrees Fahrenheit but cool temperatures can cause the mix to cool too quickly and make it unusable as permanent asphalt. Manufacturing plants that create the hot asphalt mix normally shut down mid-November through March because of the cooler air and ground temperatures.

Muscatine, like most entities charged with roadway maintenance, uses a cold mix during the winter months. Cold mix does not require heat to become flexible and, with additives, stays soft when stockpiled for six months. However, this is a temporary patch that takes time to cure and not the best choice for high traffic areas.

While cold mix will still be used, the purchase of a KM International T2 Asphalt Recycler and KM 8000TEDD Hotbox/Reclaimer by the City of Muscatine means that hot mix would be available for more permanent repairs in small pot holes.

“We do not have the capability to repair large areas with the hot mix but we will be able to do repairs to smaller pot holes in high traffic areas,” Brian Stineman, DPW Director said.

The process to create a limited supply of hot mix asphalt begins with asphalt millings (recycled asphalt). For the past several years the City of Muscatine has required contractors on street projects to separate the asphalt, concrete, bricks, and dirt as they remove old pavement. Each of these items are recycled in various ways by the City of Muscatine.

Reclaimed asphalt is crushed, or ground up, to create millings that are environmentally friendly (lower carbon footprint than fresh asphalt or other paving materials) with characteristics similar to fresh asphalt or gravel. They have been used as a subbase in certain parts of road projects and as a temporary road surface when needed.

Now, this recycled asphalt takes on a fourth life and one that is saving taxpayers money.

Chunks of recycled asphalt and/or millings are delivered by a front-end loader into the loading chute of the KM T2 Asphalt Recycler. The material falls into a rotating drum with seven steel agitators that breaks down the material while it is being heated by a 700,000 BTU burner pointed into the drum. The burner not only heats the material but also dries the material as it is being broken down.

Two bags of asphalt cement are added to act as a binding agent as the drum continues to rotate. Heat is once again added as the material mixes (up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) allowing the asphalt cement to evenly encapsulate the aggregate. The mix is heated a third time before the material is offloaded into the front-end loader and transported to the KM 8000TEDD Hotbox/Reclaimer where it is kept at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Hotbox is then transported to the work site where the area to be repaired is cleaned and dried before the reclaimed asphalt hot mix is added. The Hotbox will keep the mix at temperature for most of the work day.

The Asphalt Recycler and Hotbox/Reclaimer were in use Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020) for repairs on a section of Park Avenue West. One City crew prepared the area for repair while a second crew manned the Asphalt Recycler to “cook” new hot mix. The first application was moved into the Hotbox which was then transported to the work site.

The Hotbox keeps the hot mix at 350 degrees Fahrenheit as it is transported and then emptied into the repair area. Larger areas, such as the one being repaired Wednesday, take a second “cooking” of hot mix and transportation to the work site. Once completed, the “new” asphalt is compressed and allowed to cool and harden before opening the section to traffic.

Asphalt Recycler “cooking” hot mix demonstration is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/NNfjzdlHQcw.

Recycled asphalt transported in Hot Box to work site and applied video is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/PC4bEE1zFp0.

Photo Gallery


Jan 22

Call-in-to-schedule bulky waste pickup replaces Spring Cleanup Week in Muscatine

Posted on January 22, 2020 at 1:09 PM by Kevin Jenison

040119 Free pickup promo 2019 (JPG)

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Spring Cleanup Week is no more … at least for the 2020 calendar year. During a presentation to the Muscatine City Council on January 9, Director of the Department of Public Works Brian Stineman and Solid Waste Manager David Popp revealed a plan that could save the City money and perhaps alleviate unsightly oversized, and potentially hazardous piles of bulky waste throughout the City of Muscatine.

“There will not be any need to stockpile unwanted bulky items for that one week of the year,” Popp said. “Instead you will be able to call the Transfer Station and schedule a pickup of those bulky items on your refuse collection day.”

Spring Cleanup Week was held the third week in April for the past several years. With the consent of the Muscatine City Council that designated week has been sent to the recycle bin.

Instead the city will offer residents of Muscatine and Fruitland unlimited bulky waste curbside collection on the resident’s refuse collection day at no additional charge on a call-in to schedule basis. The City anticipates a “soft opening” for the new bulky waste pickup policy the first week of February.

Residents wanting a bulky waste pickup need to call or email the Muscatine Transfer Station to schedule the pickup. The City is in the process of establishing a dedicated phone number and email address for scheduling bulky waste pickups. Until that process is complete, residents can call the Transfer Station (563-263-9689) for additional information or to schedule a pickup.

“If you call in and get the answering machine we will call you back,” Popp said. “If you email us, we will call you. Our effort will be to schedule the appropriate time for pickup and to ensure that the items being placed out for collection are allowable.”

If residents have a large amount of bulky waste items they would like collected by the City, multiple pickups can be scheduled to keep the piles to a more manageable size for both the resident and City staff.

The Department of Public Works will collect unwanted items and take them to the Muscatine Transfer Station for disposal. Once a pickup is scheduled with the City, residents will be permitted to place the unwanted items curbside the night before their regular refuse collection day or by 5:00 a.m. on the collection day.

Businesses are not eligible for this service.

Rampant abuse of Spring Cleanup Week was one of the reasons that City staff sought a change in the process.

“We have seen bigger and bigger piles appear throughout the City that caused delays and extra expense in the collection efforts,” Stineman said. “A lot of times piles of unwanted items were set out weeks in advance and that was pretty unsightly and made worse by those who would pick through the piles and leave items strewn about.”

Another reason for the change was the cost in equipment and employee time.

“The cleanup week collection required assistance from multiple divisions and the use of temporary workers,” Stineman said. “And it took away resources that should have been used for roadway maintenance projects.”

In the past the City has used 13 full time employees, nine temporary employees, and 14 pieces of equipment from the Department of Public Works along with eight full time employees, 17 temporary employees, and eight pieces of equipment from the Solid Waste Division.

“Going to a program where we schedule pickups on resident’s regular refuse collection day allows us to limit the workload to just two employees and one piece of equipment,” Popp said. “Having residents call in to schedule pickups will make better use of our time and of residents’ time.”

Stineman and Popp estimate that up to 20 loads per day can be picked up with one truck and two staff members.

Rules established for cleanup week will be used in the year round bulky waste collection effort.

Once Muscatine and Fruitland residents schedule a pickup, bulky waste items like furniture, carpet, dismantled swing sets, and small amounts of building materials can be placed curbside for collection by the City no sooner than a day before the scheduled collection. Small items such as household decorations should be bagged.

In addition, residents will be able to set out two appliances per year (washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, microwave, or dishwasher) and have those appliances picked up for free. Camper refrigerators and camper air conditioning units are excluded from curbside pickup. Standard refrigerators and freezers need to have the doors removed for safety.

Additional appliances can be scheduled for pick up after the payment of a $10 fee per appliance. Fees can be paid at the Transfer Station, the Finance Department at Muscatine City Hall, or at the Department of Public Works.

Piles of unwanted bulky waste should be no more than 10 feet long, four feet wide, and two feet high, or about the size of a pickup truck load.

In addition, mattresses that are set out for pickup are required to be placed in mattress bags that are available for free from the Transfer Station, at City Hall, or at the Public Works office.

“It seemed residents hoarded items all year and then set out everything for the Cleanup Week,” Stineman said. “And the piles did not conform to size.”

Popp suggested another avenue for residents who have items they no longer want.

“Many items we see in these piles could have donated to local thrift stores so that they can be refurbished and obtained by those who have a need but cannot afford new items,” Popp said. “That is beneficial in two ways as it helps those in need and reduces the amount of material that is taken to the landfill.”

If a resident calls in to schedule a pickup, however, the City will collect and dispose of the items placed curbside.

Yard waste must be in City of Muscatine yard waste bags. Brush tied in bundles no larger than 18 inches in diameter and four feet in length will also be picked up on a call-in basis.

Items that will not be accepted for curbside pickup include torn down buildings (such as garages), car bodies, large trees or stumps, concrete (can be dropped off for no cost at the Public Works Yard on Washington Street), paint and other hazardous chemicals (accepted at the Transfer Station at no cost year round), and motor oil and antifreeze (accepted at the Transfer Station for no cost year round).

The following items will not be picked up curbside but will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee with proof of residency: car and/or light truck tires (maximum of 4) without rims, electronic waste items (maximum 3); propane gas tanks; and, camper refrigerators and camper air conditioners.

Tires will be accepted for FREE at the Transfer Station May 11-16, 2020, while electronics will be accepted for FREE at the Transfer Station April 27-May 1, 2020.

Proof of residency is required (such as the Compost Facility sticker or driver’s license) at the Transfer Station.

The Transfer Station is open 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Visit the Solid Waste Division page on the City of Muscatine web site for more information.

For a schedule of fees, visit the Transfer Station page on the City of Muscatine web site.

To HERE see the January 9, 2020, presentation to the Muscatine City Council.