Flood Fallout: Overflowing trash, sewage overwhelms Boulder

Noise ordinance waived for early morning pickup

BOULDER, Colo. - Two major concerns are confronting the city of Boulder in the wake of flood damage.

The huge demand for flood debris disposal is straining garbage collection efforts in Boulder County, and entire neighborhoods are dealing with sewer backups as  the wastewater treatment plant runs at maximum capacity.

Additional crews will be deployed starting Tuesday to clear flood debris that has accumulated at some of the community sites, officials says. The city of Boulder’s noise ordinance has been waived for early morning collections.

A rank smell hangs over a south Boulder neighborhood.

"It's smelly, it's dirty," resident Rachna Rawat said of sewer lines backed up by flood waters. "So we have to keep the doors closed if we're not here."

Rawat's family is keeping three pumps running in their basement, but they still have to wade through an inch of sewer water.

The city is working overtime to resolve the problem.

"Our wastewater treatment facility was processing 50 million gallons of water today, and that’s our maximum capacity. We’ve been running that for the last couple of days," said Sarah Huntley, spokeswoman for the city of Boulder. "What people are experiencing is sewage backing up into their homes, largely because of blockages in our system. So getting those blockages unclogged is a top priority."

Huntley said the backups aren't just an inconvenience, they are a public health issue.

They city has set up a public works emergency line for people dealing with these issues: 303-413-7100.

Meanwhile, dumpsters for flood debris have been filling up faster than the city can haul away the mounds of soggy carpet, wet drywall and damaged furniture.

"We are desperately looking for more roll-off containers," said Huntley.  "They are all out throughout the region, which is the big problem."

Volunteer crews were expected to start helping remove debris by mid-morning.

Flooding, closures, and delays at the Erie landfill have added to the problem.

Waste disposal crews are working almost around the clock to empty and return roll-off containers at the 21 collection sites.

The city and county are working on adding additional debris collection services to meet demand, and damage assessment teams are working to assess debris collection needs. Officials ask residents to be patient during this extraordinary time.

Residents are reminded that community trash bins are to be used for safe removal of spoiled food, damaged carpet, household materials and other flood-related debris.

Residents are asked to not put electronics, household hazardous waste, appliances containing Freon and power equipment containing gasoline into trash bins.

Here's a list of trash collection sites: http://maps.bouldercounty.org/dumpsters/

Details about what cannot be placed in community trash bins, visit www.BoulderCountyFlood.org.

More information on recycling and other waste diversion opportunities can be found at:

www.bouldercountyrecycles.org

www.ecocyle.org

www.westerndisposal.com