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Dickinson recycling site to close, officials cite abuse

Press Photo by April Baumgarten A sign at the Dickinson recycling location on 10th Avenue East states, "Absolutely no tree branch dumping," yet a pile of tree branches sits on the site Tuesday. City officials have decided to close the site due to abuse.

A Dickinson recycling site that city officials said has been abused and has caused safety hazards will close.

"It's really unfortunate that it happened, but the potential for a more serious spill, a possible fire or a citizen injury is really building along with the place being misused," Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said Wednesday.

The city plans to close the site on 10th Avenue East. City Administrator Shawn Kessel said he has left the decision to Dickinson Solid Waste Manager Aaron Praus to decide when to close the site.

Praus was unavailable for


Abuse of the site started in the fall with people dropping off tree branches, Sivak said. There are signs that prohibit tree branch dumping.

"Why the misconception that tree branches could be dropped off there was started, I don't know," he said, adding branches should be taken to the baler building. "Once that started last fall, there was just no stopping it."

Constructed debris, water heaters, planks with spikes and open buckets of oil soon followed in the spring, the fire chief said. Oil is supposed to be dumped in an oil container at the site.

"With the staffing situation that the city is struggling with, the solid waste department just simply does not have the staff available to take care of that particular spot," he said.

Kessel said Monday at a Dickinson City Commission meeting that this isn't the first time the site has been overused and recommended it be closed.

"It pains me to say that, but it's obvious that all of the things we've done to try to inform the public of the problems that are occurring have gone to no avail," he said.

Dickinson resident Christopher Brazelton, 12, who volunteers to recycle aluminum for the Dickinson Boy Scout Troop 26, said he found paint brushes, light bulbs, women's sanitary products, cat litter and bullets in the aluminum bin at the site on Wednesday. He agrees that the site is abused.

"I just think people shouldn't dump anything bad here like the sign says not to," he said. "I don't think they should close up


Bailer building officials may open a site near the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds where it would be fenced, lit and monitored, Kessel said, adding the city can control that site better than the abused one.

People may still bring items to the site on 10th Avenue East or bring them to other recycling spots, but Kessel hopes people will use other spots appropriately.

The city has three sites to recycle unbagged grass, leaves, cardboard, cold ash and used motor oil, but the drop off location on 10th Avenue East is the only one that has seen such abuse, Sivak said.

Mayor Dennis Johnson was disappointed that members in the community behaved in such a manner.

"I know there are lots of people that want to do the right thing and recycle properly," he said. "A handful of people make that very difficult."