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East Baltimore homeowners praying trash services will be restored by Friday

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 07:00:01-04

BALTIMORE — Homeowners in East Baltimore are questioning the effectiveness of the city's Department of Public Works.

Despite the claim sanitation workers have returned to work and collection is back up and running, trash remains piled up near Lawnview Avenue.

"They need to get this done," said Luke Ketter. "I'm asking you, come out here and fix this problem Jack Young, yeah I know you didn't win but you still have to November/December before you leave office. Let's get it done."

Ketter told WMAR-2 News he was tired of waiting for a sanitation truck.

"My trash is only gone because of a friend of mine. I saw him going by with a pickup truck and he said he was going to the dump and he would take it."

Ketter's neighbors say the piled up trash has become unsightly and a health hazard.

"Now we have rats," said one woman who did not want to be identified. "It’s embarrassing to my friends and my neighbors when they come and visit me and see rats running up and down the street and across my property."

Neighbors tell WMAR-2 News not only do they have to call 311 about trash but now they have to report rodent issues because of the trash.

"I am hoping and praying every day that I look out the back that I see a green pick up truck out there to collect our trash but every day I look out there all I see is the trash piled up. It's frustrating."

Acting Director Matthew W. Garbark issued the following statement on trash collection following the June 9 closure of DPW’s Eastern Sanitation Yard.

I want to ensure Baltimore City residents that their trash will be picked up, and ask for additional patience as DPW continues to secure and deploy necessary resources to support curbside collections and keep the Department’s employees safe. DPW is currently experiencing delays in trash collection service, which is primarily affecting residents who live in neighborhoods on the eastside of the City.

The pace of return to normal Solid Waste operations may be slowed by ongoing challenges that DPW is facing. However, we are confident that our trash collections will return to their regular schedules, and that Citywide recycling will resume in the coming weeks.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, DPW managed to continue trash collection operations, and implemented a planning strategy to maintain this critical public health service.

Last week, however, DPW announced the immediate suspension of all solid waste operations and activities at the Eastern Sanitation Yard, located at 6101 Bowleys Lane, following a significant number of COVID-19 cases at the facility. This closure has significantly contributed to delayed trash collections.

As a result of the facility closure, DPW requested that Solid Waste workers on permission leave report to work. We extend our appreciation to the Solid Waste workers who have returned to work during these challenging times as well as to DPW workers from other sections of the agency and other City Departments who have stepped up to help us.

According to DPW, they are facing unprecedented challenges as DPW employees from other operations have been reassigned to trash collection routes.

"Trash collection is very physically demanding work, and workers who are not accustomed to it may need more time to complete a route," they state in the release. "Drivers may also need more time to navigate an unfamiliar route, as the trucks are not equipped with GPS route software."

They continue stating that curbside trash tonnage has increased by 22 percent since the activation of the City’s shelter in place order some three months ago and that the 10-hour routes are taking longer and crews are working late into the evening and up to six days a week.

DPW’s Bureau of Solid Waste must address nearly 5,000 service request calls for missed trash collection.

Residents are reminded to:

• Call 311 to report missed trash collections;

• Secure trash in can with a tight-fitting lid until it’s collected; and,

• Utilize the three drop-off centers open to the public.

Recycling, trash, and bulk trash items can be brought to one of the following Drop-off Centers for disposal:

• Sisson Street Citizen Drop-Off Center, located at 2840 Sisson Street, Monday –Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Northwest Transfer Station, located at 5030 Reisterstown Road, Monday - Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 5: 00 p.m.

• Quarantine Road Landfill, located at 6100 Quarantine Road. Monday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.