Changes are in store for MRT bike riders when they get to Riverdale

Changes are in store for MRT bike riders when they get to Riverdale

After years of discussions with members of the Havens Acres neighborhood and Quad City bike-riding community, the City Council of Riverdale moved ahead with a number of projects intended to address safety and privacy concerns about the Mississippi River Trail bike path and its route through Riverdale.

Residents in Havens Acres have expressed their concerns about safety – both for themselves and for bicyclists – as motorists are often surprised by a bike rider ignoring a stop sign in the neighborhood or groups of riders in packs taking up the center of the narrow road making it impassable. Similarly, bike riders have expressed their frustration with residents yelling obscenities at them and sometimes threatening them for riding on a public thoroughfare.

This situation will change during 2020 as the City prepares to undertake the following projects/initiatives:

MRT/Havens Acres Barrier Fence

Starting this spring, the City of Riverdale will be erecting a chain link fence along the MRT from Duck Creek to the corner of the Sivyer Steel warehouse lot. This fence will, effectively, cut off Kensington Street from the MRT which means bike riders who want to make the connection from the MRT to the Duck Creek Bike Trail (or vice versa) will need to ride around the Havens Acres neighborhood and use the stretch of the MRT that runs along Bellingham Road.

MRT and Duck Creek Bridge Bollards 

In addition to the fence, bollards will be installed on the MRT to keep vehicular traffic off the trail between Duck Creek and Bellingham Road.

New Bike Path Signage

Once the fence has been installed and the bollards are in place, new signage will appear along both the Duck Creek Bike Trail and the MRT advising cyclists of the required route changes. New signage will also be installed at the Duck Creek Bike Trail trailhead in VanGundy Park advising cyclists that they have reached the end of the trail and that if they want to continue on to the MRT, they would need to ride east to Bellingham Road.

Bellingham Bike Stop

Among the incentives to get more bike riders to take the MRT along Bellingham, the City of Riverdale will build a “bike stop” in the parking lot currently located on Bellingham Road. The stop will include a porta-potty, bike rack, seating, a kiosk with a map of nearby bike trails and a repair station bikers can use to tighten loose equipment, an air pump to refill tires.

A Stronger Relationship with the Quad City Bike Club

In addition to these physical changes, Riverdale will start working more closely with the bike community, most notably the Quad City Bike Club, to communicate these changes directly to bikers. We are currently exploring the possibilities of becoming a “bicycle friendly community” and doing even more to encourage this healthy activity as well as Riverdale’s unique circumstance in the Quad Cities as the ONLY community to serve as a major intersection of the major bike trails in the area.

Ride on!

Havens Acres Roadway Project gets underway this week

Havens Acres Roadway Project gets underway this week

This weekend, letters were sent to residents of Havens Acres providing the first details on the planned roadway rehabilitation project for the area. The project will deal with several of the issues resulting from the road resurfacing project done in 2017 and it will also extend the life of Wisteria and Kensington by an additional 20 years.

Starting this week, the City’s contractor, Brandt Construction, will begin doing work “behind the curb” – primarily marking and preparing driveway entrances so they can be rebuilt to match the new road height. Brandt will notify residents at least 24 hours in advance of any work that will be done to their driveway and accommodations will be made, as needed, to provide residents with access to their home.

The major work done in the streets is currently slated to begin around June 8th – after the scheduled end of school. Depending on decisions made by the Pleasant Valley School District, that date may be moved up.

The over-arching concern is to make sure residents and school vehicles are able to enter and exit the Havens Acres subdivision safely and with minimal confusion.

“If we can move the construction schedule up and get the road done sooner because kids are schooling from home, that would be preferred,” explained Mayor Mike Bawden. “Compacting the construction schedule not only reduces the congestion that always occurs around road projects, it could save us some money by allowing the contractor to be more efficient.”

The project was bid on a time and materials basis and is estimated to run around $223,000 in total. MSA Professional Services is overseeing the project on the City’s behalf.

City landscaping projects begin

City landscaping projects begin

Earlier this year, the City of Riverdale selected Quercus Land Stewardship Services, from Black Earth, WI, to plan, install and maintain the landscapes of the City’s parks and public places as part of a three-year program. Alex Wenthe, the owner of Quercus, is a Quad City native and familiar with the area. The company also has other clients in the community.

Quercus Land Stewardship Services (QLSS) is a small business located in Southwest Wisconsin
that specializes in ecological restoration and vegetation management. Their services include urban
and suburban restorations like retention basins, rain gardens, native landscaping and more.

Alex and his team were in Riverdale this week, starting the project (worth between $20 – $25,000 per year). In addition to the landscaping work they will be performing, Quercus has also been engaged to conduct the year-long, invasive species audit of City property as well as assisting the City in the preparation and implementation of a tree management plan which is intended to address the large number of damaged and standing-dead trees on City property.

We thought it might be helpful to provide some idea of how they view Riverdale’s current landscaping and how Quercus will be helping the city create attractive, sustainable landscapes in the community that all residents can enjoy.

Assessment and Recommendation

As cited in their proposal, Quercus gave the following review of Riverdale’s current situation and vision of the future:

Preliminary site assessments show that current landscaping on City property is in need of repair and maintenance. The existing pants are overgrown and the mulch groundcover has deteriorated significantly. Ornamental plants were mainly used in the initial installation, which often need continued care and maintenance to survive. Some of the current plants are also considered invasive and should be removed.

Quercus only uses plants that are native to the area. Native plants increase habitat/food sources for declining species like bees and butterflies. They also increase water infiltration, decrease erosion, require less maintenance, and survive at a higher rate. Native landscaping doesn’t mean “messy” either. Our native plantings are still formal and aesthetically pleasing.

We recommend using only plants native to Eastern Iowa going forward. There is no need to remove most of the existing plants, however when they die naturally we will replace them with natives. Also when beds need supplemental plants, only natives will be used. This will help keep costs down while transitioning to native plants over the three year contract period. Costs for this recommendation are included in the estimate.

Another recommendation is to make your own mulch. New mulch provides a “fresh” look that is hard to replicate, however mulching every year can get expensive. Rather than spending money to remove invasive and undesirable trees, then more money bring in new mulch. We will do both in one step. We will cut down the trees, chip them into mulch, and use them in the landscaping beds. We use only inert woody material and make sure no invasive seeds are included in the mulch. This technique is both budget friendly and environmentally conscious. Costs for this recommendation are included in the estimate.

The third recommendation is to improve the natural areas around the parks, especially highly visible or high use areas. A specific are to improve is the Northeast corner of Bi-centennial park. There are many old (100 yrs+) oak trees in this area that would benefit from understory clearing and possible replanting. This would improve the park’s usability, aesthetics, and ecological health. We could even add trails as desired by the city. Costs for this recommendation are not included in the estimate.

There are many other intricacies of this project that are difficult to discuss in a written proposal. All of our decisions will be based on our company philosophy to improve the places we work for all creatures, humans and otherwise. Many of our landscaping recommendations will be similar to recommendations made through the vegetation survey. By using Quercus for both the vegetation survey and landscaping contract, we believe you will save time and money and have a better  overall product. We are a professional, flexible, and responsive company that aims to increase the long-term heath and viability of your park system.

Where Will the Work Be Done?

According to the RFP issued by the City of Riverdale in December, the contractor selected to install and maintain the City’s landscaping is expected to handle weed, leaf and other debris removal, trim and maintain all bushes and ground cover, sweep and blow off walkways in City spaces and remove all debris and landscape materials. The contractor is also expected to provide playground-approved mulch for the City’s two playgrounds.

Specifically, work will be performed in the following areas:

  • City Hall
  • Parks:
    • Volunteer Square Park
    • Bicentennial Park
  • Playgrounds:
    • Bicentennial Park Playground
    • Peggy’s Park Playground
  • Trails:
    • Mississippi River Trail (Arconic Rest Stop)
    • Mississippi River Trail (Arconic Parking Lot/Bellingham Bike Station)
    • Duck Creek Bike Path Trailhead/VanGundy Park
Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Last week’s announcement by Republic Services that they would suspend collection of bulky waste and yard waste could not have occurred at a less opportune time for the City of Riverdale.

According to Municipal Services Manager for Republic, Matt Pivet, the decision was a corporate-wide mandate. “We have operations across the country and while we’re not dealing with safety issues here now, Republic is having to deal with COVID-19-related issues in other parts of the country.”

That’s not to say Republic and Riverdale weren’t able to work out a solution, however.

In coming days, Republic will be dropping off three, roll-off dumpsters in Riverdale for the collection of bulky waste and yard waste from Riverdale residents. It’s not as convenient as curb-side pick-up, but it’s better than no pick up at all.

Volunteer Square Park

Two dumpsters will be located in the parking lot at Volunteer Square Park (where Republic’s trucks will be able to access them to tow and replace). One dumpster will be there for two weeks to collect bulky waste – but no e-waste or appliances (more on that, later on in this article).

The second dumpster will be there to collect yard waste and will be changed periodically throughout the coming months until Republic is able to resume its curb-side service. Please note that the second dumpster is for organic materials, only. Not garbage.

Kensington Street – Havens Acres Area

In the Havens Acres neighborhood, Republic will be dropping off a dumpster at the end of Kensington Street, next to the path connecting the street to the MRT. That dumpster will be for bulky waste only – no e-waste or appliances, please. Residents can also put material used to fight the flood (i.e. sandbags, plastic, etc.) that has come into contact with water from the creek. Unlike the bulky waste dumpster in Volunteer Square Park that will be picked up in mid-April, the Havens Acres dumpster will be on-site for as long as needed to clean up after the floodwaters receed.

No e-Waste or HHM Pick-up

The Waste Commission of Scott County has suspended all collection of electronic waste (TVs, stereo equipment, computers, battery-powered devices) until the COVID-19 outbreak has passed. They have also suspended the collection of household hazardous materials (solvents, cleaning supplies, oil-based paints). When the Commission starts collecting these materials again, we will let you know.

How to Dispose of Appliances

The bulky waste dumpsters are not for the collection of appliances. Instead, the City will be collecting appliances from residents on Friday, May 1. If you have appliances you would like to have hauled away on May 1, please call City Hall (563-355–2511) to be put on the list for a pick-up time or use the form below to let us know.

Please give us your email or phone number so we can contact you with questions or to discuss alternative times for pick-up.
Please give us your preferred time. We will email you a confirmation once we have a schedule of pick-ups completed (on or before April 28).
Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Riverdale residents were drenched Friday night with nearly 4 inches of rain in a very short span of time, causing basements to fill with storm water, flash flooding over saturated lands and hillsides, and mounds of mud and debris at intersections along Hwy 67 throughout the City.

Here are my notes (Mike Bawden) from the 3 hours I spent checking out various spots in the City …

Fenno Road/Hwy 67

Water was standing in ditches, with trash and other debris obstructing many of the culverts that would allow water to pass under the highway and make its way toward the river. No word how businesses located south of State Street (Schebler, Arconic and others) fared or were handling the runoff. The neighborhood up and on top of Fenno Hill appeared no worse for wear although we didn’t have a chance to speak to any residents.

SCC Entrance (College Drive)

The entrance to Scott Community College was buried under nearly 8 inches of mud which seems to have come up from the storm water pipes located under the road. Mayor Mike Bawden worked with SCC Dean Matt Schmidt to get a crew from the college out with a skid loader to scoop the entrance out so cars and bicyclists using the MRT could pass.

Arconic Learning Center

There appears to have been a washout under the eastern entrance to the Arconic Learning Center, resulting in the driveway collapsing. The MRT running from the SCC entrance to Manor Drive had standing water on parts of it (and didn’t appear to be draining) but was otherwise passable.

Manor Drive/Circle Drive

Residents living on top of Riverdale Hill reported that their sump pumps were running throughout the night. Some escaped with little to no damage while others had nearly a foot of water standing in their basements when they went down to check on things in the morning. Add to these problems the recent announcement by Republic that it was suspending bulky waste pick-up for the foreseeable future, and there are issues the City will have to deal with on Monday morning.

Woods Estates

Developer Seth Woods was on his tractor first thing in the morning, scraping mud out of the Gwyneth/State Street intersection and putting it back into the development. While the seeding and matting Woods Development had done on the north side of Gwyneth held firm, the bare land left by contractors installing gas and electric lines created an opportunity for the minor mud-slide Woods and his employees had to deal with.

To his credit, Woods was on the scene before the site was inspected by the City. He also had his employees work on parts of the MRT that were covered with mud and debris so bikers could continue to use the trail rather than ride in the street.

Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic

The Brenny’s complex weathered the storm in fine fashion, although some erosion appears to have taken place under the drainage pipes leading from the new building. Mayor Mike Bawden stopped by to check on Mark Brenny and his crew who were still hard at work, doing business in spite of the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and extreme weather.

Havens Acres

Inspection of Havens Acres showed this neighborhood showed it weathered the storm as well as expected – many of the homes in the area were already dealing with a river and creek at or near flood stage. Pumps were moving water to the street and storm water system. Much of the work that will be done on the roads in the neighborhood this summer will address the catch basins and drainage areas in addition to the street surface and driveway entrances. Some work (behind the curbs) will begin in the next month (weather permitting).

Belmont Road

Taking a quick look at the state of Fox Creek (which runs from by SCC and then under Belmont Road toward the river), there was a lot of debris and the water levels ran high overnight, but we didn’t see any major damage. Flow through this area has increased significantly due to parking lots and other development by PVCSD and SCC. I did not have a chance to speak to residents up by the bend in Belmont Road to see if there were any unique problems.

Photos from my “disaster tour” of Riverdale can be found below:

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

The City was notified by Republic Services that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were changing the nature of the services they were providing to cities (Riverdale among them) for the foreseeable future.

Specifically, Republic explained they will continue to collect waste from households and businesses, but that they would suspend bulky waste and yard waste pick-ups.

According to Matt Pivit (the Municipal Services Manager from Republic), if your waste material can not fit in your garbage cart, they will not take it. This is to assure that workers are not touching waste. Carts (for both garbage and recycling) are picked up using a robotic arm on the side of the truck collecting material.

Services are expected to resume once the COVID-19 situation is in-hand.

What Will We Do?

Believe it or not, we were working on this problem before the Friday night storm that filled many Riverdale basements with rainwater. What we initially thought would be just a yard waste problem is now something much more substantial and we’re taking this matter very seriously.

Yard Waste. We will be confirming with the Compost Facility that we can bring yard waste to the facility for the foreseeable future. I will also be discussing this with Republic to see if we can reduce the fees we pay them to cover the cost of dropping material off for composting. Assuming this can all be worked out in an agreeable manner, we will advise residents on how we can all work together to dispose of our yard waste during the spring using volunteers, city vehicles and proper social distancing.

For seniors unable to haul/move bags of yard waste, please be patient. Let us know and we’ll work on a solution. 

Bulky Waste. We will be contacting Republic on Monday to see if we can line up two roll-off dumpsters for residents who have bulky waste that they need to remove from their home immediately. This means ruined household items as a result of Friday’s storms. It’s important folks can get this material out of their houses and let their basements dry out so mold doesn’t develop.

If there’s room left in the dumpsters, then we’ll keep them around for another week so people can toss in their other bulky waste. When the dumpsters are full, we’ll have Republic haul them away and take the material to the landfill.

Community Clean-Up. So what are we going to do about our traditional “Community Clean-Up”? It’s likely we’ll still have some kind of clean-up activity later on this year – but it will probably be more focused on picking up litter and roadside waste moreso than household, bulky waste. The City will contact the Waste Commission of Scott County to see if there’s a way we can get plenty of iLiveHere garbage bags, tongs and other tools for households who want to get outside and do something to make Riverdale look even better than usual.

Let us know if you’ve got the “anti-litter” bug and we’ll help get you equipped!

Drainage way off of Fieldcrest Road to undergo significant work

Drainage way off of Fieldcrest Road to undergo significant work

Work is expected to begin soon on changing the path of the stream bed off of Fieldcrest Road in order to arrest the continued scoring and erosion under the City’s sanitary sewer line running between Deerbrook and the Woods Estates of Riverdale developments. The erosion problem has been a lingering one and was significantly impacted last year by the record rains and resulting ground saturation.

McClintock Trucking & Excavating has been hired by the City to change the course of the stream’s bed and re-build the eroded bank to preserve the sanitary sewer line. They will also be adding about 30 yards of stone (“rip rap”) to help diffuse water flowing through the stormwater outlet at the end of Fieldcrest Road.

“This is the first phase of a much larger project,” explained Mayor Mike Bawden. “We’ve been working with the City’s engineering consultancy, MSA Professional Services, to assess the problem and develop a long-term solution that will allow us to handle the excessive stormwater generated off of the Scott Community College parking lots and homes on Manor and Circle Drives. Right now, that water is collected under Fieldcrest Road and flows down the drainage way.”

The drainage way, he explained, was never intended to be a constantly-flowing creek and in seasons where we see enormous amounts of rainfall, significant erosion can result.

“The immediate concern addressed with the current project, is to shore up the bank underneath the City’s sanitary sewer line – which would cost significantly more to repair or replace should the bank completely wash out from underneath it,” Mayor Bawden explained. “In the longer term, we want to find a solution that is both aesthetically pleasing – preserving as much natural beauty as we can – and effective at handling large amounts of water we’re bound to see as severe weather events continue to be more commonplace.”

For on-going updates on this project, check out the Fieldcrest Draining Stabilization Project page on this website.

Winter storm predicted to hit Tuesday

Winter storm predicted to hit Tuesday

A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for Scott County running Monday night through early Wednesday morning. Snow accumulations could add up to 8+ inches.

According to the national weather service …


What you should do

Keep in mind, we’ve published helpful articles about how to prepare for an on-coming snow storm here and here. But lest you forget, it’s really helpful if you get your cars off the street and into your driveways (or garages) so the plows can move as much snow as possible.

And if you’re planning on shoveling the heavy, wet stuff, here are some tips on how to save your back and make sure you don’t wear yourself out (or bring on a heart attack) in the process.

Stay warm. Stay safe. Remember, the official start of spring is less than a month away!

Scott Community College master planning open house set for March 4

Scott Community College master planning open house set for March 4

Promotional Flyer for the SCC “Reimagine Your Back Yard” Open House on March 4th

Scott Community College has invited Riverdale residents to participate in an open house on March 4th to help them “re-imagine” their campus. Here are the details …

Who: Community members, college students, high school coaches, grounds crew staff, athletes, college professors and staff, partner organizations, potential funders, etc.

What: Hour-long, topic-based focus groups discussions

When: Tuesday, March 3
2:30 PM (Education/Recreation) *TBD
4:00 PM Infrastructure 

Where: Room 2406 (Belmont Campus) 

Why: Develop a Scott Community College Campus Master Plan

Mission: Join recreation, education and infrastructure into a 15-year plan that focuses on sustainability and resiliency to honor our community and ecological history



Please send your name and contact information to the City for us to forward on to the school. SCC may reach out to participants directly to ensure thoughtful participation in our first workshop on campus.

Meeting with the City Engineer gives a glimpse of Riverdale’s future.

Meeting with the City Engineer gives a glimpse of Riverdale’s future.

The first, quarterly public information meeting with a representative from MSA Professional Services (the City’s engineering consultant) was held on Wednesday, February 19 at 4pm. The meeting attendance was sparse, but the conversation was far-reaching and insightful as Chris Cooper (MSA) provided an update on current projects in-work and the Mayor Mike Bawden outlined some of the projects currently being discussed by the Council.

Here is a review of what was discussed:

Fieldcrest Drainage Way
There are two parts to this project. The first part, intended to address the erosion problems in the drainage way off of Fieldrest Road, is being re-engineered to move the drainage way. The project appears to fit within the City’s $20,000 budget. Chris seemed to think this project could be completed this summer. Chris will discuss this project in more detail at the Council Meeting on Tuesday.

Steve Townsend also provided an article on the use of wood chips to reduce nitrates in stormwater runoff. There may be a way to work that into future stormwater management projects.

The second part of the project requires MSA to model the watershed and will take some more time. Chris reviewed the location of the retention basin between the SCC drive and homes that back up to it on Manor Drive. We discussed the need to change the way stormwater was managed coming out of that basin. It appears it may help to more fully understand the long-term plan for SCC’s stormwater management (part of their master planning process) to see if excess stormwater might be diverted into an alternate creek.

Havens Acres Roadway Reconstruction
Chris advised that MSA had provided paperwork to the City for me to sign which will finalize the agreement with Brandt Construction. Work is scheduled to begin in June.

Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase I
Chris advised that Visu-Sewer has been asked to come up with options for the most expensive part of the contract. Follow ups are scheduled.

Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase II
Chris has asked contractors to submit pricing to televise and test (where needed) the large, non-roadway tracts of sanitary sewer lines. Not much smoke testing since there are very few lateral lines. Prices will reflect the fact there are no roads available for transportation of equipment (contractor will need to use an ATV).

The testing should be completed in 2020 so we can solicit bids for repairs next winter.

Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase III
A third (and hopefully final) phase of this project is planned to start in 2021. Sanitary sewer lines in parts of the Fenno neighborhood and near Schebler will need to be televised. Chris will review documentation at MSA to determine whether any testing of lines under Manor Drive, Circle Drive, Windsor and Elmhurst need to be done.

The big issue for Phase III will be the work required to televise/inspect the line running under Hwy 67/State Street. We do not have a handle on what that might cost (let alone possible repair costs). We are saving this work for last because it is expected to be the most complex and possibly the most expensive. It will almost certainly be the most disruptive because both inspecting and repairing the line will require modifications to traffic flows/handling.

Havens Acres/MRT Fence
Reviewed the proposed fenceline in more detail and the memo provided to the City Council at the last meeting. Chris said MSA should be able to proceed with getting costs once directed by the City Council to do so. He also suggested the City contact Arconic to let them know about our intention of erecting the fence to make sure they didn’t have any concerns. The Mayor advised Chris that we’ve asked the City of Bettendorf to install a bollard at the end of the bridge spanning Duck Creek (on their side) and they seemed amenable to that and that we would need to do the same at the corner of the Sivyer property (at the end of our fence).

Upcoming/Proposed Capital Improvement Projects
The Mayor reviewed the draft list of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) as it exists to-date to see if either Chris or Steve had any thoughts, questions or concerns.

The list of projects includes:

Spring/Summer 2020:

  • IT Upgrade
  • Havens Acres/MRT Boundary Fence
  • Havens Acres Street Repair
  • Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase I
  • Fieldcrest Drainage Way Restoration, Phase I
  • Fall/Winter 2020:
    • Fire Department Apron Repair
    • Fire Department Exhaust System Upgrade
    • Maintenance Building Engineering

Spring/Summer 2021:

  • City Entrance Signage
  • New Flagpoles at City Hall
  • MRT Signage
  • Bike-Friendly Lot on Bellingham
  • Manor/Circle Drive Drainage Engineering
  • Volunteer Square Park WiFi Hot Spot
  • Fenno Lane Widening Engineering
  • Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase II

Fall/Winter 2021:

  • Bellingham Roadway Improvement/Reconstruction Engineering
  • Fieldcrest Drainage Way Restoration, Phase II Engineering

Spring/Summer 2022:

  • Manor Drive Drainage Project
  • New Fire Department Equipment
  • Fenno Lane Widening
  • Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation, Phase III
  • Bellingham Roadway Improvement/Reconstruction
  • Fieldcrest Drainage Way Restoration, Phase II
  • City Hall Upgrade Work:
    • Roof Repair (if needed)
    • HVAC Overhaul (if needed)
    • Electrical Overhaul (if needed)
    • Parking Lot Repairs
    • Window Repairs (if needed)
    • Re-insulation (if needed)
Take charge of your old batteries – here’s how to recycle them.

Take charge of your old batteries – here’s how to recycle them.

With so many wireless and cordless devices in the typical home, battery disposal is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. You have batteries in your laptop, your cell phone, your TV remote and some of the electrical appliances stored in your kitchen drawers.

But not all batteries are created equal.

Throwing your rechargeable batteries away when they’re “dead” could be unsafe. Not only do the chemicals in batteries pose a risk to the environment (if not properly handled), batteries can spark and cause fires or explosions at the waste processing facility or recycling center.

So how should you get rid of your old batteries?

Alkaline Batteries

Single-use batteries (alkaline) are fine to toss in the trash when they run out of juice. These are most often found in flashlights, kids toys, TV remotes and other devices that need to have their batteries replaced when they stop working. (I know, that sounds really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about it.)

Single-use batteries are now made of common metals deemed non-hazardous by the federal government and can be disposed of in your regular trash. Prior to 1996, single-use batteries contained mercury and were treated as hazardous waste.

One exception: Watch out … the small, button-shaped batteries found in watches should NEVER be thrown away. They are considered to be hazardous and should be disposed of like a rechargeable battery.

Rechargeable Batteries

One way to cut down on the number of disposable batteries you send to the landfill each year is to buy and use rechargeable batteries, instead. These can be re-used up to 1,000 times before they wear out. But beware, rechargeable batteries pose their own risks and need to be handled differently when it comes time to dispose of them.

In fact, rechargeable batteries are the leading cause of fires at recycling centers and landfills because they are usually not prepared for the process and, instead, just buried in trash or piles of recyclables where they can accidentally spark. Lithium batteries – like those found in flashlights, rechargeable household appliances, computers, etc. – are often the culprits.

Small, sealed lead acid batteries, like those found in battery-powered scooters, remote control cars, etc. contain hazardous chemicals that can harm pets and contaminate land and waterways.

Recycling Batteries

Prepping single-use batteries for recycling:

  • Place a piece of non-conductive clear tape over the ends to prevent any current transfer. You can also bag each battery individually instead of taping the ends.
  • Seal batteries in a plastic bag that doesn’t conduct electricity in case there is a spark.
  • Drop the batteries off at a collection site.

Prepping rechargeable batteries for recycling:

  • Remove batteries from their electronics if possible. (This is not required for small electronics like cellphones or iPods, which can be accepted by the e-waste facility at the Waste Commission’s facility in Davenport.)
  • Cover the terminals with non-conductive tape clear tape.
  • Seal batteries in a plastic bag that doesn’t conduct electricity in case there is a spark.
  • Drop the batteries off at a collection site (preferably the e-waste facility).

The Waste Commission of Scott County has created a simple-to-follow guide to help make it easy for you. Just click on the image to the right and either download it or print it out and save the information in an easy-to-reach place.

Republic Services produces a waste guide for Riverdale residents

Republic Services produces a waste guide for Riverdale residents

Not sure you remember exactly whether the recycling bin needs to be wheeled to the curb this week? Can’t remember when bulky waste pick-up day is? Afraid you’re too late to leave yard waste at the curb for clean up?

Thanks to the City of Riverdale’s waste/recycling service provider, Republic Services, that won’t be a problem any more. They’ve provided a handy guide that will be mailed out to residents over the next week to help remind us what goes in the bin, on the curb and to the street – when it comes to trash and recycling.

You can also download a copy of that guide by clicking here (the guide will open in a new window).