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Garbage Collection Woes Cont. – Some Improvement, Some Serious Frustration

by Prince Of Petworth January 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm 22 Comments


Yesterday we talked about some areas around the District that haven’t had the garbage collected in two weeks. @ColinHauck updates us on yesterday’s mess (photo above):

“Awesome job by the trash men on what I’m sure was a pretty rough day for them.”

Unfortunately another reader sends in a photo from the 3600 block of 13th St., NW:


“My alley which is in the 3600 block of 13th St., Northwest. This is the day after they collected trash after 12 days of not collecting trash. Apparently they did not pick up the stuff that wasn’t sitting in a garbage can, but there was no room for garbage in the garbage can because of the amount of trash that has piled up since they last collected. This is just nuts.”

and @ssullivan228 tweets us:

“This is getting absurd @DCDPW. You haven’t collected the recycle along FL Ave NW btwn 13/14 in over 3 weeks. Send someone out!”

  • MetMet

    That’s rough. My neighbors routinely leave bags of garbage in our alley on all days of the week even when they have trash cans, so I call 311 to report it as an illegal dumping and it’s usually cleaned up within a week. That’s what I would do here. If you use the SeeClickFix app and submit a picture, it’s resolved quicker because they don’t have to send out an inspector before collecting the trash.

  • Did you call 311? It worked for our alley. They give you a follow-up number so you can check up.

  • people have been submitting 311 reports for north coheights/south petworth for weeks and it still hasn’t been picked up.

  • ~

    Actually, I’m pretty happy that trash collection has been slow in the past few weeks… There are a lot less broken bottles and cans strewn out in the middle of my alley since we don’t have the reckless collection crews coming through and leaving trash cans knocked over in the middle of our alleys.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah…the excess bags of trash for multiple weeks attracting rats are so much better than the occasional broken bottle. And the piled up trash never falls, breaks open, or makes a mess.

  • Anonymous

    Something must be going on beyond just the weather. In my 4+ years in Petworth, I’ve had great trash service, but since before Christmas it’s been terrible. Weeks missed with no “sliding” to the next day pickups. Marginal pickup after a few weeks missed (as happend to the OP). Gotta be something bigger going on.

    • Anonymous

      Any chance that DPW has begun outsourcing trash collection to private contractors starting with the New Year?
      Or perhaps garbage collectors are “calling out sick” en mass, a la ambulance staff?
      I agree, something seems to be weird.

      • DcDude

        The same crews that drive the snow plows and salt trucks also do the garbage/recycling runs. That’s the reason some of the collections have fallen behind, nothing more than that.

        • ah

          +1. I’m not making excuses, but Xmas, New Year, MLK day all created “slides”, which seems to create problems. Mix in bad weather after New Year and MLK day and it creates total havoc.

          Now, why DPW can’t just sort out it’s schedule, even if it’s mixed up, is beyond me. I was baffled by the “sllide” from MLK day plus the “slide” from the snow last week – what did that mean?

        • Anonymous

          Yes. I understand the frustration of having trash/recycling piling up (same at my house) but really the last 4 weeks included 2 holidays, several rounds of inclement weather (requiring crews to perform other tasks, and making some alleys difficult to negotiate), leaf collection, and tree collection – and it’s not like they have separate workforces for each individual task. I understand if people are disappointed but it’s pretty obvious there’s no catastrophic failure or scandalous conspricay. Just a department with a lot of work, limited resources, and they didn’t quite manage it all as well as they might have.

        • Anonymous

          I agree. I’m more tolerant than most of my neighbors, it seems. There has been extreme weather, and a slip in services for a week or two is not the end of the world. DPW has a lot on its plate, and I don’t want my tax dollars going to maintain excess capacity so that DPW can handle multiple unusual issues without a snafu once every 5 years.

  • reality

    I’ve noticed the same thing in Eckington, NE. What gives?? My trash cans are overflowing.

  • Anonymous

    Also… I thought that homes receiving once a week trash and recycling pick up where receiving new big bins. in January. What happened to that? We have more recycling than fits in our bin!

    • Me Too

      We were so excited for this, the current small containers are practically useless. Unfortunately last I heard, Mayor Gray could not get the plan to finance the large recycling bins approved so I think it’s not happening, at least not any time soon. We are about to give up waiting and buy a second small blue can.

      • Anonymous

        Seriously?? What the hell. Way to announce we’re getting it and then take it back. I guess I’ll just buy another can too seeing as mine is not only beaten up (thanks DPW), but barely holds all the recycling we put out each week.

      • Anonymous

        I thought he recently found the money for this, and they’re supposed to be rolled out in February and March?

        • Anonymous

          He did – from the Post: The Gray administration said Thursday it had located a new source of funds, and the first replacement cans will be distributed next month. They will be paid for out of the city’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund, which will be replenished when the city’s budget surplus is announced next month, said spokesman Pedro Ribeiro. The move does not require D.C. Council approval.
          Households that get once-a-week trash pickup will get a new 96-gallon “Supercan” plus a new 64-gallon recycling bin, which is double the size of current recycling bins. In neighborhoods receiving twice-a-week trash pickup, households will get new 32-gallon trash cans plus large 48-gallon recycling bins.
          The old cans, some of which are more than a decade old, will be collected by the Department of Public Works and recycled.

  • Anonymous

    My recycle got picked up this morning (2 full containers) and hopefully my trash got picked up too. we shall see….

  • Anonymous

    Part of mayor gray’s one city one rat program! Feed them to help them survive the polar vortex!

  • Anonymous

    I second everyone who said to call 311. There is also a 311 smartphone app that is handy. You can submit anonymously if you prefer.

    Secondly, be sure to let Mayor Gray and your Council member know. We pay taxes for a reason and deserve on time public service. Grassroots politics works best when elected officials hear from the people in masses!

  • AA

    After also having a two week delay I decided to not only place a service request at 311 but also posted something on the Brightwood list serv. Within an hour I got a note from an awesome DC govt staffer who had reached out to DPW on my behalf. As of 6:14 my trash has been collected. Now… Let’s hope the recyclers make it soon too.

  • Nathan

    Have you called 311? Have you posted on SeeClickFix?


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