UWEC student move-out causes piling garbage, public concern

Eau Claire (WQOW) – UW-Eau Claire students are moving out, but their garbage isn’t, and it’s causing some local concern.

It is that time of the season once again. Students are moving out, leaving behind old and used couches, beds, tables and chairs. They are left out on the curbs, some overflowing into sidewalks and streets, which are violations to the city ordinance.

"Some of the problems with leaving things on the curb or sidewalk, or even just on the property, is that it could attract animals," said Iris Lang, environmental health specialist for the Eau Claire Health Department. "A large pile of garbage or furniture can be a public nuisance or animal harborage."

It’s also a concern for public safety for those who are walking, biking or driving. For Eau Claire residents, the garbage is more than just a safety hazard.

"Overnight people threw some stuff in our disposal unit and it’s kind of getting out of hand at some points," said Eric Kayser of Eau Claire. "I mean when you have to have somebody basically use your own dumpster when you’re trying to clean your own place it just adds to it. The fact that it was above the fill line, we would have been charged extra for it."

Property owners are responsible for what’s left over after their renters have left. Lang said it can be more than $30 per item left on the curb. The health department recently held "Pack it up and Pass it on" event, where students can pay a small fee to dispose of large items. They do this annually at the Water Street parking lot post-finals week.

Some residents we spoke with suggested renting a Gorilla Bag or a dumpster, or if the items are in good condition, donating them to families in need.

Recent UWEC graduate Maria Delgado Gomez had a different perspective.

"I think the main problem is that many students are kicked out prematurely," Gomez said. "This happens every year, and yet it is obvious it could be done better. Some students are even forced to live out of their cars during finals week despite paying for a full-month’s rent."

Gomez recommended that the city follow similar processes from campus leave-and-take events.

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