A stinky situation: Heat takes trash trucks off Fayetteville streets

Posted July 18, 2019 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Sixty percent of the City of Fayetteville's sanitation trucks are out of commission, and it has nothing to do with engines overheating.

Trash cans that were supposed to be picked up and emptied last week still line some Fayetteville neighborhoods.

"They keep skipping [us]. We'll call downtown, and they say, 'Oh, something's wrong,'" said Tony Morgan, who lives in the neighborhood. "[They say] ‘Mechanical trouble, and we'll pick up the next day.’ But the next day never comes."

The city says 60 percent of its fleet of solid waste collection trucks have heat-related damage, but not from overheating.

"They have hydraulics. Things swell, things stick, seals break, and that's what we're experiencing," said Assistant City Manager Krisstoff Bauer.

David Aberdeen and his crew have been working non-stop in the heat of the day to get the trash that's spoiling in the cans into their truck. His vehicle broke down last week.

"The windshield was cracked, and it had an air leak," he said.

Mechanics are working as fast as they can to safely get the trucks up and running, but delays in garbage pickup is happening all over the city.

"Well, basically, we're telling residents that we're really focusing on solid waste garbage that doesn't last well in the heat," Bauer said.

That's not sitting well with residents like Morgan, who's wondering why trash can't be picked up the old-fashioned way.

"What happened to the manpower they used to have and pick it up? They would come to the street and get the garbage can and put it on the truck," he said.

According to city officials, one truck with a hydraulic arm can pick up 1,000 cans a day.

The city hopes to have trash collection back on schedule next week.