HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — New penalties are coming for those in the City of Hampton who aren’t following the rules when it comes to curbside trash and recycling.

In a unanimous vote last week, Hampton City Council approved a plan that would institute fines following the second occurrence of city workers finding properties in violations of the city’s enhanced solid waste ordinance. First time offenders would receive a warning.

There is hope this will help control increasing costs of trash collection, according to a city press release.

Jason Mitchell, the city’s public works director, said currently employees are spending too much time attempting to clean up items that aren’t collectable.

Mitchell said hazardous waste, hot coals being placed in the trash bins and oversize trees too big to pick up with existing equipment are problems crews are running into. He said they have potential to injure workers.

In addition he said the process to collect everyone’s trash in a timely manner is interrupted when cars or obstructions like basketball hoops are parked too close to a trash or recycling bin. When bins are overfilled and the lid isn’t closed, items start to dump too soon.

Other violations include:

  • Putting out construction materials or large trees that should be the responsibility of a contractor; placing large amount of items at the curb following the eviction of a tenant; putting too many bulk items at the curb at a time; placing items in bulk trash that shouldn’t go into the landfill and create fines and cleanup costs (poisons, propane tanks, car engines and parts, cans with paint in them); repeatedly putting non-recyclables into recycling containers.
  • Trash not placed in a bin that attracts wildlife or rodents; stinky trash left out, not in an enclosed bin; or leaving trash or recycling bins on the street too long (it should be put out no sooner than 3 p.m. the day before and removed by midnight of collection day).

Following an initial written warning, the second violation will come with a $50 fine and each subsequent violation will be a $75 fine.

If there are more than six violations in calendar year they could face termination of service. Termination of service can also come into play if a customer dumps more than two cubic yards of refuse, debris or waste on public property or another person’s private property
or dumbs hazardous materials.

“I don’t believe we will use this very often. We will use our enforcement and education program to try and help these customers, this is really intended for an egregious resident who continues to do the wrong thing over and over,” Mitchell said.

A property owner could also face fines for improperly recycled materials. In addition an owner of any commercial office building, strip mall or business is required to provide a recycling system to its tenants, employees, and/or customers under the new ordinance.

“Hampton has special collection services for elderly or handicapped residents who are unable to roll their toters to the curb,” the release said. “Also, Hampton and other Peninsula localities hold special collections for hazardous materials monthly.”

To learn more about the rules, you can visit the City of Hampton’s website.

In recent years, Hampton has made it a goal to hold the appearances of properties to a higher standard. Last July, the city cracked down on lawn parking and inoperable vehicles on property.