If you’re looking for information about homeless encampment cleanup in Westminster, it’s not surprising. Homelessness has gone up throughout the state in the past few years. Homeless encampments are springing up everywhere, disrupting local business centers and residential neighborhoods.
While the state tries to figure out a way to deal with the sheer number of homeless people, the fact remains that homeless encampments are usually unsanitary. The sheer amount of biohazardous and infectious waste at the site is what makes them so unsafe to live in.
What Is Biohazardous Waste?
Biohazardous waste is waste that contains pathogens. When you get an illness like pneumonia or the flu, you’ve been contaminated by a pathogen. These are the microorganisms that make humans sick. Homeless encampments are filled to the brim with pathogens. It’s present in biohazardous and infectious waste like human waste, animal waste, animal carcasses, blood, and bodily fluids.
One of the biggest issues with homeless encampments is that they don’t have bathroom facilities. They don’t have areas where people can wash their hands, clean their bodies, or launder their clothes. This means that the chance of a contagion is really high.
There’s so much back and forth between residents of homeless encampments. They share food. They share cooking utensils. They sure blankets when it’s cold. They touch all of the same surfaces. If any of those items are contaminated with any type of pathogen, that pathogen will spread from one person to the next. This is the reason that so many encampments have outbreaks of serious diseases like Hepatitis A and pneumonia.
Who Is Responsible for Cleaning up a Homeless Encampment?
This question comes up many times with people. They may be confused because there may be a homeless encampment located in their neighborhood, but the city or state may be responsible for maintaining that particular part of the neighborhood. In other cases, homeless encampments are fully on privately owned land. For the most part, local government cleans up homeless encampments that are located on public property. If a homeless encampment is located on private property, that encampment has to be cleaned up by the people that own that property. Many people have had different answers to this question based on their specific situations, so give us a call if you’re unsure about your specific situation.
Homeless encampment cleaning as a very involved process that will involve expert cleaning, specific tools, and OSHA and EPA approved cleansers.
Why Are Homeless Encampments So Disruptive?
Most people feel a lot of empathy for people who are homeless. No one wants to know that someone doesn’t have a place to go. The fact remains, however, that a homeless encampment can be extremely disruptive to everyday life.
If an encampment is located near a business, that business needs to figure out how to do business without alienating its customers. Customers are much less likely to patronize a business if there is a homeless encampment on site or nearby. Even if the encampment has been cleared out, it will need to be cleaned up before people feel comfortable patronizing the space again.
For people who live in residential areas where homeless encampments have sprouted up, they may feel really uncomfortable because they’re sharing space with people who they don’t know. This can bring up issues of safety for people.
What Types of Waste Is Located in a Homeless Encampment?
There are many different types of waste located in homeless encampments. That waste is usually either biohazardous waste or other types of infectious waste. The list of waste includes garbage, blood, vermin waste, rotting food, dog or cat waste that hasn’t been cleaned up, and many other types of waste.
Drug paraphernalia is another type of waste that’s a serious issue at homeless encampment sites. Most people are already aware that illicit drug use takes place on homeless encampments, requiring the use of paraphernalia like needles and syringes. Some people, however, take prescribed medication like insulin. When people discard the needles and syringes that they use for their drugs, they may simply dump the used needles on the ground or into an open wastebasket. The risk of someone getting pricked by these items is very high. If they get pricked, they could easily get contaminated and infected.
What Happens Once All of the Waste Is Cleared Out of a Homeless Encampment?
Once waste has been cleared out of a homeless encampment, it needs to be packaged up and special bins and bags and disposed of. The waste simply can’t be thrown into a dumpster or into a regular trash can since it’s contagious and may spread disease to other people. Once these special bins have been filled with all of the waste, they’re carted off to special waste facilities where it’s destroyed.
What Happens During Homeless Encampment Clean Up?
The first part of the cleanup process will include an assessment. The cleanup team will come out to the site and determine how much work needs to be done, how big a crew will be needed, and what tools will be needed to manage the cleanup. Next, teams will remove all visible waste from the site. This includes any makeshift shelters and all biohazardous and infectious waste. Once the site has been completely cleared, the cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing process will begin. The teams will use the OSHA-approved cleaners and disinfectants to help ensure that they get rid of pathogens at their source.
Cleaning up a homeless encampment can take a lot of work. It’s also not work for the faint of heart. It makes sense to hire a team that has the knowledge and experience needed to completely and safely clean a homeless encampment so that it can be restored to its original condition. Give us a call if you have any questions about the entire process.