Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh, What A Dump! Stamford Dump (aka Waste Disposal Facilities) Exposed

Stamford Talk note: I have yet to go through the labyrinthine process it takes to be able to use Stamford's dump facilities, so thank you to local blogger Patty at wingdangdoo for clearing away some of the mystery for me! Thanks for the guest post, Patty!

"Mommy!" my youngest asked me frantically as I picked him up from his spring break day camp, "Did you go to the dump?"

Although the last part of this sentence wasn't spoken, it was implied: "...WITHOUT ME?"

I had tried to keep my dump aspirations quiet, wanting to make quick work of some junk that was weighing me down like a 50 lb anchor tied to my ankle. I also wanted to dispose of mass quantities of broken toys and a small army of unloved, unused stuffed animals on the sly. Not one to miss any detail, he was on to me before he pulled out of the driveway that morning.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:
"Daddy, why are we taking Mommy's car today?"
"Because she wants to keep all of the fun to herself, your mother is using my truck so she can haul stuff to the dump WITHOUT YOU. Also, the Easter Bunny isn't real."

OK, maybe that's not quite how it went. I'm sure he reassured him that Mommy loved him very much, and that I was borrowing the truck so I could take both dogs and both cats straight to the pound.

I have vague recollections of going with my father to some nebulous Stamford location called The Dump when I was a child, but I have no recollection of where it was located or what we brought there. I vividly remember that people dumped their castoff, random items in an abandoned lot we called The Swamp, just a block and a half down the hill from my childhood home. We found all kinds of things there when I was a child. Spare bikes. Animal skeletons. Old glass bottles. Restless, pissed off Native American spirits searching for their ancestral home. That sort of thing. Not long before Poltergeist came out, a few dozen unattractive contemporary homes sprouted in The Swamp.

Hmmm. Thirty plus years later, I still hesitate to drive through that creepy little subdivision when it's dark.


I live in the section of town that doesn't have garbage pickup. Horrors, right? We call this unexplored, services-free territory North Stamford. Load up a picnic lunch, saddle up the horse and pay us a visit some time. What's kept me from making the acquaintance of the dump prior to now was the outstanding weekly pickup service I get from the garbage gods and goddesses at Independent Refuse. Holla! I've also rented dumpsters from them during small home renovations (you should see the team of oxen pulling those suckers back into Stamford proper!) and large-scale purges. But this week, what I had in mind was a small-scale purge. A mini-catharsis. A spring cleaning! A recycle-o-rama! The kind that can only occur with my packrat husband and similarly inclined eldest child out doing other things, unable to witness the departure of that February 23, 1997 TIME Magazine and that gently-unstuffed-by-the-puppy one-eared pink rabbit.

How I Spent My Spring Vacation? I spent it at the dump.

Keeping the wisdom of the incomparable Manager Mom in mind, I set out to get myself a permit at The Scale House (Is there a better name? For anything in Stamford? I'm at a loss. It sounds like something out of Return to Thunderdome. Or maybe a lizard exhibit). For some reason, I knew exactly where to find The Scale House: Jefferson Street. Of course! Completely obvious. Right there next to those.... smoke stack... things. And behind that... giant... brick wall. I've got a flair for the foreboding. Armed with the truck's registration, my driver's licence, and a utility bill just in case (and by the way? Can someone please explain how I can get on a plane anywhere in the United States showing my driver's license as proof of identity, but to do business with the City of Stamford, I have to bring a utility bill?), I went into The Scale House. A lovely woman with a lilting Island accent gave me my free green sticker emblazoned with the universal symbol for recycling and patiently gave me the effortless directions to the dump.

And oh, what a dump it is!

With bins dedicated to cans and bottles, cardboard, mixed paper, batteries (ask if you can't find it), metal scraps and yard refuse, the Katrina Mygatt facility is a recycling haven. There's even a Goodwill donation bin across the parking lot. One of the men working at Mygatt was kind enough to help me get the old section of duct work and heavier wood scraps out of the truck. He also told me it was perfectly fine to leave nicer toys on the sidewalk in front of the bins in case anyone wanted to take them home. That was all I needed to hear. I was plotting my return to Mygatt before I even left.

I loaded the truck up again this morning, celebrating Earth Day by filling the truck with recyclables and other detritus. "Mommy?" he asked me before hesitating and adding "...never mind." As I often do, I reminded my youngest that he can tell me anything. "It's just that it might be a little... weird." As I often do, I reminded him that I'm a little weird. "When you go to the dump today, can you maybe... take some pictures?" What a happy coincidence. Turns out my friend Talk asked me to guest blog on this scintillating topic after seeing my brazen Facebook brag about visiting the dump. I told him I'd be more than happy to snap a few shots.

If you're making your way to Mygatt any time soon (and really, you should!), bring the camera along. It's quite the conversation starter.

And if you really want to make it a Stamford-centric day, join me on the tour of All Things Chimp. Right around the corner from Mygatt, you can take a peek at the chinp-safe bars on the windows at Desire Me Motors.

But that's a story for another time.


Whitemist said...

There is a place for garden type waste much near to you - the Scofieldtown dump, just near the Scofieldtown skilled nursing facility. You can also get in free with just a station wagon instead of a truck (other wise they charge by the pound).

Always Home and Uncool said...

That dump is the place to be since I wrote about it, too.

I've never gotten a permit. Ever. How much were you dumping? Three tons?

patty said...

Whitemist, I plan to check out the Scofield facility this weekend (despite its proximity to Chimp Central!).

AHandUC, great minds and all that. I enjoyed your take on old and new, and remember most of the stores you mentioned.

As for the permit, it's a cool little green sticker. Makes me feel like an insider.

Manager Mom said...

It truly is a palace there... Thanks for the props. I miss all 'yall here in the blogernets...

Chris Preovolos said...

Dude, you don't need the sticker to dump junk here. Well, technically you do, but I'm not sure if anybody checks. But come on, all you gotta do is drive across the street and show them your reg info.

Anyway, yeah. I feels so good to unload crap!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article! We just moved to Stamford and I Googled "stamford dump" to find out where we can toss our flooring refuse (re-doing the floors). Of course Stamford Talk came up, which has become my go-to blog on all things Stamford ever since I knew we were moving to CT, even before we found our home.
Thanks again for another useful and entertaining article!