Homeless encampment cleanup near Glenwood Springs removes 60,000 pounds of trash from mountainside | PostIndependent.com

Homeless encampment cleanup near Glenwood Springs removes 60,000 pounds of trash from mountainside

Garfield County removed nearly 60,000 pounds of trash from a homeless encampment, which cost a total of $87,250, according to a news release.

The Garfield County Environmental Health Department oversaw the cleanup of the property near Walmart on the east side of Glenwood Springs, where trash piles were 8 feet deep in places, the release states.

Cleaning crews also recovered enough hypodermic needles at the site to fill a five gallon bucket, the release states.

Numerous shelters were removed from the property by ECOS Environmental & Disaster Restoration Inc., who was awarded the contract to complete cleanup within 30 days, the release states.

During a meeting July 19, Garfield County Environmental Health Manager Josh Williams told the Board of County Commissioners the magnitude of trash and steep terrain made the cleanup very difficult, and at times dangerous, but that no one was injured in the process.

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“We managed to get some heavy equipment up in the initial ravine to help break some of the trash up. The campsites and tarp structures have been removed, and halfway up the mountain there were mattresses and furniture that are now gone,” Williams stated in the release.

Hundreds of small camping propane tanks and 34 five-gallon refillable propane tanks were also found discarded in the encampment area, leading to the suspicion that people have been driving to the site to dump trash.

Kris Miller, ECOS general manager, told the board that it took more than 1,000 hours of work in the cleanup effort, the release states.

“It was definitely a long and hot project,” Miller said in the release. “We switched up the time people worked from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., to take advantage of the cooler morning hours. Nobody was hostile toward our staff, but there were people up there nearly every single day.”

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

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