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Fargo-Moorhead area collects tons of trash for Cleanup Week

Some odd finds include hot tubs, pianos and a lawn full of vacuums.

Lawn trimmings and old toys are among the items collected during the annual Cleanup Week. Forum file photo

FARGO — The Fargo-Moorhead area was more trashy than usual last week, but not in a bad way.

Residents in the metro area took advantage of free curbside garbage service for Cleanup Week , hauling tires, refrigerators, mattresses and more to their front yards for city crews to haul away.

Most cities are not finished weighing everything collected, but Fargo collected 1,949 tons that was delivered to the landfill, slightly up from last year’s collection weight of 1,942 tons, city recycling coordinator Jen Pickett said Tuesday, May 14.

That almost 3.9 million pounds of trash — enough to fill between 325 and 390 trucks — is based on loads that average 5 to 6 tons each.

“There was a lot,” she said, noting the city typically picks up between 1,600 and 1,700 tons in a month.



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West Fargo saw a large jump in its Cleanup Week collection, from 780 tons in 2018 to about 850 tons last week, city sanitation manager Thomas Clark said. Last year, the month of May averaged about 550 tons a week, he said.
"It seemed there were just some very large piles of home debris," Clark said.

Moorhead still had to pick up garbage in the Oakport neighborhood Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15, but crews are on track to surpass last year’s weight of roughly 1,000 tons, Moorhead Public Works Director Steve Moore said.

The city averages about 300 tons a week when it collects trash, he said.

“I’m amazed at the amount of garbage generated every year during Cleanup Week,” he said. “People have a time when they can get rid of some extra stuff.”

Cleanup Week can attract large, odd and often amusing pieces for the dumpster. West Fargo crews picked up a couple of pianos and stuffed deer heads, but most of the trash consisted of everyday items like clothes and lamps, Clark said.

Pickett noted a north Fargo family had a collection of 50 or so vacuums on their front yard. In 2017, someone left a boat on the berm in north Moorhead .

“We haven’t had anything like a boat,” Moore said. “People have tried to put out hot tubs and everything else.”


For future reference, the city of Moorhead won’t haul away hot tubs, Moore said. There were a few piles with items crews couldn’t take, like demolition and construction materials, he said.

Each city has a list of objects it can pick up, along with instructions on where to take other waste.

With the nice weather — at least compared to winter — comes the "extra push" to freshen up the home and clean up, Clark said.

"It's just a good, fresh way to start the season," he said, though he noted West Fargo picks up large items year-round for free if residents make arrangements with the city.

Dilworth, Minn., maintenance supervisor Don Vogel said he didn’t have an official count on the amount his city crews collected, but the weight likely was similar to last year’s or a little more than average. He said he felt Cleanup Week went well, giving residents a chance to get rid of items they have stored in their backyards or no longer need.

“We encourage people to get rid of the stuff that they no longer have use for,” he said.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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