“All Hands on Deck” to Collect Trash and Recycling – Residential Street Sweeping postponed to Monday March 9th


From the Mayor’s office:

“Today, the Bowser Administration, with the support of union leaders from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced an “All Hanks on Deck” effort to catch up on trash collection that has been delayed due to hazardous conditions on weather-impacted alleys.

Additional trash collection crews will hit the roads tomorrow and throughout the weekend to collect trash that has not been collected. As part of the effort, the District has allocated the following resources:

· additional crews from the leaf team will be activated for trash collection;
· additional crews from private companies will be engaged to add capacity; and
· an unprecedented effort to salt alleys to make them passable for trash collectors.

“We apologize for the delay in service. We are committed to providing the best service possible to the District’s residents. This winter has been particularly challenging, but the District’s government and our employees are rising to the challenge,” said City Administrator Young, Department of Public Works Director Howland and AFSCME Leaders Andre Lee and Barry Carey. “Our crews are going all hands on deck and will work through the weekend to ensure that all trash is picked up in the next 72 hours.”

Due to public health concerns, crews will co-mingle trash and recycling to ensure that all cans are emptied as quickly as possible. Some winter precipitation may occur early next week; therefore, the start of the weekly residential street sweeping program will be postponed to Monday, March 9, 2015.”

51 Comment

  • I guess I applaud the effort to get everything picked up. But “this winter has been particularly challenging” is just BS. Last winter was much, much worse. And co-mingling the trash and recycling sucks.

    My current theory is that whenever a new mayor comes into office, lots of DC city employees sink to the lowest level of service possible to see if there will be strong leadership/consequences for poor performance. And so far, Bowser is not impressing me with either leadership or getting the most out of city employees.

  • does this mean we should put our cans out or should we expect these crews to come up and get them?

  • Well, at least they’re finally doing something that makes sense- aka delaying street sweeping in favor of actually collecting garbage that has been neglected for weeks. Strangely my recycling was picked up Thursday morning, but not my trash. I’m happy it was because I had A TON of recycling this round and it would have sucked to have it just heaped in with regular trash.

  • I still find it ridiculous that this administration has the audacity to say that salting alleys is unprecedented. There is a PDF District’of’Columbia’Winter’Snow’Plan’– District’Deployment’Standards’ on the govt website (http://snow.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/snow/page_content/attachments/District_Deployment_Standards.pdf) that specifically states that alleys are in their purview. They should really review this, because these are the standards that they determined and I judge their effectiveness against.

  • This is how government should respond to people’s concerns.

    As for the weather, this has been a difficult February. As bad as 2010? Well, maybe not, but this month has certainly sucked.

  • Good news. I wonder if that hilarious “lost dog” flyer had anything to do with the decision? (Nobody does snark quite like disgruntled D.C. residents).

  • I don’t know how my brother who lives in a row house in downtown Boston can only have one missed trash collection in February, when that city has gotten 61 inches of snow, while I had 5 missed collections in a row (I am in a twice a week pickup location).

    And the whole (too much snow or ice to get the trash) argument kinda falls on its face when all the private trash collecting companies that service the condo’s in my alley haven’t had any missed collections. Heck, my neighbor was able to drive her 1,200 lb mini cooper with 4 inches of ground clearance out of our alley the day after the snow, are you telling me we can’t get a 8 ton trash truck into the alley?

    And of course, its the DC way. When you have the MOST EXPENSIVE municipal trash collection service per resident in the region (20% higher than Arlington County, which is the next highest)…what do you do when they don’t do their jobs? Why of course, you pay them even more in OT, AND you hire some private contractors to help them out.

    We learned a year or so ago when the Post did an article on how DC trash collection jobs were choice, highly sought after jobs in the District because of the relatively high pay/benefits, and the fact that it only takes them 3-4 hours a day to do their rounds, then they go home. So why are we paying OT and for outside contractors when we are already paying people full time (8/hr day salaries) to do jobs they all admit only take 3-4 hours, and then they go home),

    Lastly, DPW’s trash folks have really gone downhill the past ~18 months. They miss 2-3 pickups a months in my neighborhood in perfect weather in the middle of June. Their guys are haphazard, they dump trash / glass all over the alley and just let it sit, leave the alley strewn with trash cans so someone literally has to walk down the alley and move 30 cans and sweep the dumped trash and glass out of the way after every pickup so they can actually drive down the alley.

    If there was ever an argument to be made for privatizing trash collection in DC (like Arlington does for a lot cheaper), then DPW is making it in a weekly basis.

    • +1. Privatize the trash service. The lazy guys will either shape up or get canned. Either way, it would be a major improvement on the status quo.

      • Anecdotes are fun. Our trash guys are on time, professional, and do a great job.

        Please don’t blame the workers or call them “lazy” for poor decisions by their management and city administrators.

        • Agreed. Our trash collectors are friendly and efficient. And it is crazy hard work.

        • I was referring to the lazy workers (not everyone). And yes, there is a fair share of them- the ones who leave your cans half way down the street, the ones who “miss” your place numerous times, the ones who spill all kinds of stuff and don’t pick up, the one’s who mysteriously take some bags, but not all, etc… If your guys are good, than they shouldn’t be hurt by privatization. But it’s not coincidence that the private pickup guys continue to make their rounds in the winter, while DPW is having all kinds of (made up) problems.

        • I don’t know that all of this can be sloughed off on the management and administration. Drivers apparently have the discretion to choose not to go down an alley if they feel it “isn’t safe.” That unsafe feeling is belied, however, by (I) private trash collectors going down those same alleys to collect trash, and (ii) trash getting picked up and not recycling, or vice versa. Seems to me there’s a lot of questionable decision being made by drivers, many of which can be attributed to laziness.

        • I Dont Get It

          Yeah 99% of the time I have no problem with trash pick-up. It’s just the last few weeks and I blame management not the workers.

        • Agree, Glover Guy!

    • Boston isn’t much better. Google “Record snowfall hampers Boston trash collection”

    • houseintherear

      Commenting late on this, but… we had a lot of trouble last year with broken glass and trash left all over the place after trash/recycling clean-up, and I started tweeting pics of the “damage” every week to @dcdpw. Soon they asked me to send the pics to a particular person’s email address at DPW, and that person responded right away to request the specific street. They seemed to really care about the mess. It stopped happening after that, and it appears 2 of the 3 guys on our route are now different people (or at least appear to be, based on height/weight/hair, etc).
      As with any public service in DC, if you report issues over and over again, they are usually taken care of. Reporting once will not do the trick.

  • the “leaf team”? what the hell has the “leaf team” been doing the past couple months?

  • So they are not recycling the recyclables? That’s just unacceptable.

  • Just how many Hanks work for the District? It must suck to be a Hank that works in a cushy office job getting called out to do garbage detail. Poor Hank.

    • My eight-month-old son, Henry, has already been conscripted.

      Seriously, someone should review these things. I barely made it past the first missing comma to close out the parenthetical reference to AFSCME.

  • That “lost truck” ad is fantastic!

  • calling this winter “particularly challenging” is ridiculous. Last winter was far worse with more snow and colder weather (and fewer trash problems). This is a management issue, not a weather issue.

  • I put my recycling out just in case they actually decide to come. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Saw a TV news report that said trash trucks will pick up recycling as well. So they will throw it all together–ugh.

  • Our trash recycling is in front of our house because our alley is not accessible to trash trucks. We haven’t had any problems with collections that I’m aware of. Why not just have residents pull their trash around front (like we do every week) when the alleys can’t be accessed for weather reasons. Would that be too objectionable? I guess it could be a very long walk for some people, so perhaps it’s not practical.

  • After weeks with no collection we have extra bags of trash by our supercan. Why DPW finally picked up this week they failed to pick up the extra bags sitting next to the can. Any hot tips on what to do? We’re definitely talking about more than can fit in the can and I don’t want to be loading the can with old trash every week until May.

    • Also, I really wish ANC commissioners and others would wait to bombard listervs with thank you emails to Bowser for doing what should have been done weeks ago until it’s actually done. Aloo she’s done so far is say she’ll collect trash. I’ll believe it when our alley is empty.

    • Why, oh why, don’t they take this too? We have the same problem. It’s clearly trash so why aren’t they taking it? Is there some rule that they can only take it out of cans? We get lots of packages thus lots of broken down cardboard boxes that they don’t take either. You think I’m leaving that stuff out there for my health? Or better yet, for the vermin? If it’s bagged or clearly trash, please DPW, please take it.

      • Your results may vary. Never had an issue with cardboard, but they left bags of leaves for a long time. I think someone eventually put then in a trash can.
        I’m really lucky to have 2 sets of cans and rare issues with trash.

      • Yes, all trash is required to be “containerized” as defined here in an answer to a question about a new resident not having cans yet (this was from a FAQ when DPW distributed the super cans):
        “To avoid getting a sanitation citation for improperly containerized trash or recyclables, please acquire a temporary trash and/or recycling can until your DPW cans are delivered. District regulations require that all trash and recyclables are containerized. This means trash that is in plastic bags should be put INTO the trash can. Loose recyclables should be put into the recycling can. While you are not required to use one of our cans, to ensure one’s trash and recyclables are collected in the most efficient manner, DPW encourages residents to purchase the properly sized wheeled container that is used in their collection neighborhood.”
        Last winter when they also had trash pickup problems and we were continuing to put out our accumulating trash, we did receive a warning in the mail about having trash bags out on the sidewalk but not in the can (with photos that they took). It was just a warning and that was an unusual circumstance that resulted in the additional bags of trash, but they do take it seriously. We kept our older trash can when they delivered the new ones and now have two if we ever need it for overflow.

        • Accountering

          I think the argument is that they shouldn’t need to be. Sometimes, cardboard doesn’t fit in the bin. This would be another argument in favor of privatization of this city function.

          • This! Since I don’t have the bigger cans, despite repeated requests to Kevin Twine when I moved into my house last April, I can’t or don’t want to put my cardboard in the cans. They take up so much space and I wouldn’t have room for things that are an actual sanitation hazard.

            Too bad, I can’t say to the District tax man that his results may vary on the taxes I pay bimonthly.

  • It doesn’t seem like there is a great system response, I agree. But our alleys are tough sledding. I think it would be pretty treacherous to be loading trash, and hopping up and down. And, oddly, it does seem that this year all these storms hit on our trash day! Our stuff got finally picked up, but you could take it to Fort Totten yourself, I suppose. I love Fort Totten Trash Transfer Station — a must see for kids, actually.

    • Lots of people don’t drive, so they’re hailing it on metro. Once its in the can, it’s a pain to get out, and it’s covered in trash remnants of God knows what.
      The hours for ft totten transfer sucks. I sat in line for easily 20 minutes and there was no direction. I figured or where to go by happenstance when I heard electronics.

      • Really? In my experience, the Fort Totten Transfer Station is one of the few D.C. government operations where things seem to be really efficient and the employees are professional and courteous.

    • DPW could go to Amazon.com and buy strap-on ice cleats for the guys hopping on and off the truck.

  • At least once a year one of the city services departments fudges something so badly that they have to spend money correcting it. It’d be lovely if the next administration would focus on why that keeps happening.

  • It’s a b.s., trump card excuse to say the delays in trash pick up are weather related, for every reason stated on this thread (we’ve had worse winters, recycling in many instances is still being picked up, private companies are still more than able to pick up, etc etc). I’ve had it with hearing this. I live in Petworth, and my neighbor has a mid-90s sedan that he’s been using to get to work every day this month. You’re telling me a trash truck can’t handle the alley? They’re literally driving 5 mph when in the alley, stopping every couple houses, so give me a freakin’ break with this!

    And today ANC Commissioner Acqunetta Anderson sends an email updating the “All HANKS on deck” press release, ending it with “…and thanks to the Mayor.” Thanks for what? For doing your job? Let’s not allow this to turn into a back-patting session for the Mayor. It’s a sham that trash has gone this long without being picked up. Get it together, DC!

  • “crews will co-mingle trash and recycling to ensure that all cans are emptied as quickly as possible.” To bad they didn’t actually tell the trash guys about this! Our trash was picked up today (regular day) but 3 weeks of recycling is still there.

  • Glad to hear this – we have twice a week pick up and have not had service since Feb 13th. I was planning a trip to Ft. Totten tomorrow if I didn’t see action today (my regular trash pick up).

  • I carry a toddler, his backpack, and my fully loaded briefcase through our alley to the bus stop every day. If it’s clear enough for us, it should be clear enough for the recycling crew.

  • Does this mean only trash guys named Hank will be involved? That’s a lot of Hanks.

  • Trash just collected from our alley in Trinidad by a contracting company (Tenleytown Trash). Poor guys were lifting the cans themselves- maybe their trucks aren’t compatible?

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