Local News

Durham Residents Confused By Trash Pickup Mixup

Posted June 2, 2006

— There is a trashy situation in part of downtown Durham. When the city changed the trash collection system, it caught some residents off guard.

Pam Adams said no one has collected her trash in two weeks. Last week, Adams and several neighbors in the Walltown area got notes saying their garbage cans could not be emptied.

"It's stinky and you want it removed," she said.

Officials said the trash trucks with mechanical arms cannot pick up garbage that sits within three feet of a vehicle, but in many downtown areas, that's hard to avoid.

Assistant City Manager Ted Voorhees said automated trash pickup was recently added to some streets in the downtown area. He admits the city did not alert neighbors and is now trying to work out kinks.

"I think it's a learning process," he said.

The automated trucks typically use one worker, but now the truck in Adams' neighbrhood has two on the truck. One guides the mechanical arm while the other gets out and moves trash cans within reach.

City leaders said even with the added worker, the program saves thousands of dollars a year in labor costs.

The director of the solid waste program plans to meet with residents later in June to explain how the system works and how to make sure their trash is picked up. The city has gradually added the automated trucks. Currently, they are used on half of the city's pickups.


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