Unsightly debris potential hazard

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 8, 2001
Piles of yard debris stacking up in Meridian's streets are not only unsightly, but also potentially dangerous, city officials said Monday.
The debris began accumulating in recent months as leaves, limbs and other waste were placed curbside by local citizens, but has yet to be picked up by Waste Management Inc., which has the city's garbage contract. The company claims it is abiding by the contract and that most piles aren't picked up because they don't conform to contract stipulations as to size and content.
One sticking point is that limbs must be no longer than four feet and no larger than two inches in diameter. In the last several weeks Waste Management has agreed to pick up limbs up to four inches in diameter.
Lewis' concerns were echoed by Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge, who also said piles of debris pose a safety hazard. A front page photo in last Friday's edition of The Meridian Star showed debris partially covering a city fire hydrant on 45th Street.
A few minutes can be the determining factor in either gaining control of a house fire or totally losing a house in a blaze, Partridge said.
According to Partridge, there is no penalty for obstructing a fire hydrant, although he said the department usually takes action when it is notified a hydrant is being blocked. The pile on the 45th Street hydrant remained there today.
Partridge said the department is currently in the midst of a program to install blue reflectors on hydrants to make them more visible to the firefighters.
Lewis said as far as he knows the piles of debris haven't caused any accidents yet and the department is working with other city officials to point out where the piles are located.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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