Arlington, VA

Last week Sarah, a Rosslyn resident, was trying to solve a problem: what do you do if a mattress is left along the side of a busy local road and no one has done anything about it for weeks?

“A mattress was dumped on the sidewalk on Clarendon Blvd between Rhodes and Quinn about two weeks ago,” she told ARLnow. “It appears that the negligent property dumper and Arlington County are at a standoff, as the mattress remains. So what’s the end resolution here? Does this mattress stay on public property for eternity?”

“It’s an interesting civic dilemma,” Sarah added. “If Arlington County acquiesces and disposes of the mattress, the negligent resident has their belief that they can skirt the rules reinforced.”

Disposing of a mattress is not a straightforward proposition for those who live in local condos, apartments or other private communities. Unlike single-family home owners in Arlington, who can generally just leave mattresses and other bulky items by the curb, residents of multi-family complexes play by the rules of the trash company their building, HOA, etc. contracts with.

In this instance, someone apparently either decided to just dump the mattress and make it someone else’s problem — or Googled “mattress disposal arlington va” and didn’t realize that Arlington County’s trash pickup service does not apply to them.

Either way, the answer for Sarah and anyone with the same issue going forward is: visit the county’s website.

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention,” said Arlington County Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow. “We have placed an illegal dumping ticket for this item. Someone from our Solid Waste Bureau will pick it up soon to dispose of it.”

For future reference, according to O’Brien: “Please report any litter or illegal dumping through our online Report a Problem tool: https://topics.arlingtonva.us/reportproblem/.”

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