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Spring cleanup is in the air

There's a pretty good chance a lot of spring cleaning will take place around Farmington this weekend.

Next Saturday kicks off the annual Curbside Clean-up Days, sponsored by the city of Farmington. It's that time of year when residents haul their miscellaneous pieces of broken furniture and old televisions to the curb, just waiting for city crews to come by and take the eyesore away.

This is the tenth year for the curbside program, but the city of Farmington has been helping residents get rid of their bigger garbage since 1989, when it kicked off the community cleanup program.

The program changed to a door-to-door service a decade ago, Farmington municipal services director Lena Larson said. Originally, residents brought their large garbage items to a central location for collection - a practice used in several neighboring communities - but the city received complaints from residents who either had physical limitations or who didn't have vehicles with the capability of hauling those pieces away. As it was, the system that was meant to benefit all residents was somewhat limiting.

All that changed when the city kicked off its curbside cleanup program. The increase in participation was noticeable in the first year, Larson said.

"Absolutely. There was a huge jump in the number of people who participated," she said.

The program has been tweaked and refined a few times over the years. At first, residents could leave tires at the end of their driveways, but that changed in 2007. For the first few years, Larson said, more than 2,000 tires were collected; when a separate tire collection date was scheduled in 2007, that number dropped to just over 200.

This year, the program is refined a little once again. For the first time, scrap metal will no longer be accepted as part of the curbside cleanup program. The city will offer a link to scrap metal recyclers around Dakota County, and many of those places will pay residents for the scrap metal.

"There's a lot of value to it," she said. "There was just so much (scrap metal) out there, it made sense to pull it out."

That might be disappointing to the folks who drive the trucks around town during the days prior to the city's collection - Larson says the city calls those folks "treasure hunters" - but that's not a concern for the city. What is a concern, though, is safety, especially if the "treasure hunters" stop by their lots and make a mess, interrupt traffic flow or make the resident feel unsafe. If that happens, Larson recommends calling 911.

Household waste

Curbside cleanup does not include the collection of household hazardous waste, but if residents are willing to hang onto it for a few months, they can get rid of those items later this summer.

The city of Farmington is partnering with Dakota County to do a household hazardous waste collection Sept. 10, at the Central Maintenance Facility. At that time, residents can bring all chemical-related items or fluorescent lighting up for recycling. If they can't wait that long, Dakota County's Recycle Zone in Eagan takes those items and more.

For more information on any of Farmington's upcoming cleanup programs, visit the city's web page,, or call Larson at 651-280-6905. Lists of the items accepted in the curbside cleanup on the city's web site. The first collection is scheduled for next Saturday, April 23, when residents whose garbage is collected on Mondays can put out their items for collection.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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