AMERICAN FORK — The Timpanogos Special Service District is offering free mulch to anyone looking to beautify their flower beds before the end of summer.
The district has moved to temporarily stop collecting green waste from the north Utah County area after its compost pile grew too large to manage.
In an effort to avoid unwanted odors or potential fires for residents, district officials are hoping people will stop by and take what they need.
"This is the first time in 20 years that we’ve had to do this," said Jon Adams, district manager. "It’s just the way green waste kept coming this year. We just got overwhelmed."
The decision to stop collecting green waste will set the Timpanogos Special Service District back anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 if the pile doesn't get to a safe level within the next 60 days, Adams said.
In a season where cutting grass and trimming hedges are the norm, it is free to dump green waste at the Timpanogos Special Service District, 6400 N. 5050 West.
"We take in the green waste because it keeps it out of the landfill, and we use it in a beneficial way and the people like it," Adams said. "They get to dump for free, and we sell our compost so they buy the product."
For landscaping companies with larger green-waste loads, the district has kept dumping fees low — $2 per cubic yard.
James Rich, owner of Rich Property Management, said he has gotten rid of his green waste at the special service district for the past 15 years.
Though the temporary shutdown is inconvenient for him, Rich said the decision to stop collecting waste is indicative of the district's responsible character.
"I’ve never had a problem with them out there, especially as a commercial company," he said. "They’ve always been kind and amenable and willing to help."
As a youth leader for his church, Adams said he has organized several service projects in the past to clean up local parks that required mulch. The Timpanogos Special Service District has given them that product for free rather than the regular cost of $20 per yard.
Mark Johnson, vice chairman of the district's board, said the temporary decision to stop collecting waste was an easy one.
"I think it’s been very effective and very beneficial for those (residents) who need to dispose of their green waste," Johnson said. "However, I think it will be important to get everything balanced."
For residents who get their green waste picked up, the district has made arrangements with Waste Management and other commercial landscaping businesses to take green waste to North Pointe Solid Waste Special Service District until the compost pile at Timpanogos becomes safe again.
"We just don’t want to pose a threat to anything. That’s where the real damage could come," Adams said. "We have farm fields around us and other buildings and the lake bottom, and we just want to make sure there's nothing dangerous going on."