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The effects of the District’s pre-Valentine’s Day snowstorm still linger on, with significant portions of the District reporting that they haven’t had their trash or recycling picked up since before the Feb. 13 storm.
This backup most widely effects residents that have once-a-week Thursday trash pickup, chiefly large portions of wards 3 and 4, according to Bill Howland, head of the Department of Public Works. These residents missed trash pickup on Thursday, Feb. 13 because of the storm and many of them missed pickup the next week, Thursday, Feb. 20, because some streets—-specifically alleys—-were still too icy for garbage trucks to navigate.
“The trucks are tight fit, a car can navigate through those alleys a lot better,” Howland says. “But when you are stopping every 30 feet to make a trash pick up, the truck tends to slide and it becomes a safety issue for the crew and the truck.”
Residents have taken to their neighborhood email lists to complain of their trash overflow (Howland says Ward 4’s Crestwood residents have been most vocal about the delinquent pickups, though residents across all wards have missed collection days.) Muriel Bowser‘s office says the Ward 4 councilmember has been in contact with DPW about the trash.
“We’ve got garbage overflowing. You see neighborhood kids playing around trash,” Crestwood resident Mark Epstein tells City Desk. “There’s trash being knocked over. I’m constantly having to go outside and redo the recycling bins.”
A DPW staff assistant posted a notice on various neighborhood email lists saying 70 percent of trash collections are made from the alleys, and DPW was able to collect almost all of the trash and recycling placed at the curb. Epstein, however, says his trash gets picked up in the front of his house, not in an alley.
According to Howland, DPW has completed all of its scheduled pickups for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. The city employs 250 trash collectors and they have been working overtime to make up for missed collections this week, Howland says. DPW was scheduled, for instance, to make a special pickup in Crestwood today and all residents that have Thursday pickup are slated to have their trash removed tomorrow as normal.
“We realize it is important, and we want to be there on the scheduled day, it’s just that the weather has made it a little more challenging than it normally does,” Howland says.