West Seattle trash-pickup update: What SPU just told WSB

Since “when is my trash going to get picked up?” seems to be the #1 lingering question for so many of us here in West Seattle – particularly those of us who missed the past two Mondays — we wanted to get the very latest from Seattle Public Utilities, rather than awaiting the next official citywide news release. Just talked by phone with SPU’s Andy Ryan, and got some important updates you need to know:

#1 – They are going to have trucks running this Thursday, New Year’s Day, to try to catch up on more of the missed collections. New Year’s usually OTHERWISE is one of only three non-collection holidays each year.

#2 – If you put your trash out this weekend because of the announcement that some Thurs/Fri pickups might still be made over the weekend – but they haven’t gotten to you yet – BRING IT IN TILL NEXT THURSDAY, and they’ll try to get to you then … or by Saturday … because the original schedule was, for both holiday weeks, for Thurs-Fri pickups to be delayed a day. (Confusing, we know.)

#3 – If you are normally Monday-Wednesday collection, they are going to try to get back on normal schedule the next three days, but they admit that this is an unprecedented situation and they’re not sure how successful they are going to be – so there is a chance (we appreciate their honesty on this) some Monday customers STILL might not get picked up tomorrow, in which case they will try to catch up during those special Thursday runs.

#4 – DON’T BOTHER WITH YARD WASTE for a week or so – they are trying to catch up with recycling and trash first.

#5 – SPU **hopes** to be caught up by next Saturday night. In another day or two, Andy tells WSB, they will announce a special number you can use to start reporting missed collections, but so far they know there are more people who were missed than not and they want to get through a day or two of trying to get back on schedule, before they start taking those calls.’

#6 – Andy wanted us to convey to everyone: “We very much appreciate your patience. This is the worst experience in anyone’s recent memory at Seattle Public Utilities – nobody remembers a storm that kept us out of service this long, and we appreciate people being patient while we take the time to pick stuff up safely.”

We’ll check in with SPU again around midday tomorrow to see how it’s going. Hope the above isn’t too confusing; we wanted to write it up fast after that phone conversation. And if you see a trash truck in your neighborhood tomorrow – let us know! since, something like all the recent story-sharing about buses and snowplows and mail-delivery trucks, it may generate a bit of hope.

UPDATE 7:53pm: Just got word that SPU will issue a statement about tomorrow’s pickup in the next couple of hours. We’ll publish it as soon as we get it.

20 Replies to "West Seattle trash-pickup update: What SPU just told WSB"

  • HighlandParkster December 28, 2008 (6:30 pm)

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me?! What is WRONG with this city?! It’s almost 2009, and Seattle can’t do ANYTHING right. Why did the city SAY that they were going to pick up my trash on Saturday and then not tell me until Sunday night that they’re NOT going to pick up my trash for ANOTHER week?! Almost 4 weeks without trash pick up? Really, Seattle. Happy New Year to you too! Nickels had better eat a big plate of crow over his “B” grade!

  • HighlandParkster December 28, 2008 (6:31 pm)

    I’m putting my trash can and my recycling bin in the middle of my street until someone comes to collect them.

  • Sue December 28, 2008 (6:34 pm)

    I understand that they want to focus on garbage and recycling. But this Monday p/u household has not had yard waste picked up since December 1st – we are overflowing with yard waste (since our trees lost their leaves before the snows came), and they are also stuffed full of food waste for compost – some of which is over 3 weeks old. Tomorrow is our normal yard waste pickup. If they don’t pickup and make us wait again, it will be FIVE weeks that some of this is sticking around. Because of the massive amount of leaves we had, some of it is in paper bags which are about ready to fall apart from all the rain/snow. Our compost is in cans, but this is really getting ridiculous. Yes, I know it’s unprecedented. But they need to be working extra hours and days then – not just putting in their usual 8 hour day and saying “gee, just can’t get it all.” I’m not filling my car up with wet yardwaste/compost to take it in myself, nor should I have to.

  • MB December 28, 2008 (6:41 pm)

    This is getting to be rediculous!

  • Tracy December 28, 2008 (6:43 pm)

    There are piles and piles on the curb – hardly anyone is going to haul that up stairs or wherever. This is disgusting.

  • HT December 28, 2008 (7:03 pm)

    They wouldn’t have been “out of service this long” if the city had a plan to salt in addition to the minimal plowing already allowed for. Salt prevents accumulation, in addition to melting that which is already there. Then the garbage trucks would have been able to make some runs even during the height of the storm, reducing the backlog and the recovery times that we are now experiencing.

    But no. Seattle thinks that saltwater runoff into saltwater Puget Sound is an environmental hazard. Their stupidity is easily proven, although in this city they will never be called to account for their incompetence.

    In the meantime, those of us with almost a month’s worth of garbage piling up will just have to deal with the rats (and now that the weather has warmed up, the smell and the health hazards, too).

    Thanks, Seattle! You certainly get a D+ in my book!

  • austin December 28, 2008 (7:07 pm)

    It’s a good thing my household only produces enough garbage to need one trash pickup per month. I feel for my neighbors with piles of trash and recycling around their bins.

  • RobertSeattle December 28, 2008 (7:33 pm)

    FYI – Took two cans of garbage (lots of diapers after 2 missed “Friday” pickups) and recycling (cardboard mostly) to the tranfer station today around 1:30. Wait was only about 10 minutes. All they do when you show up is ask “Did you pickup get missed?” and they give you a receipt to give them on the way out (I assume for accounting purposes) and of course it was all free. Not the best solution, but better than waiting 5 more days for my “Friday” pickup.

  • GenHillOne December 28, 2008 (7:40 pm)

    We are usually one of the first Monday trash pick-ups @ 6:45. We’ll report back. That gets dragged down some narrow, steep stairs to the alley. Recycling comes later in the day from the street side of the house and I, like so many others, have laid my hands on this stuff far too many times. Out, back in, re-packaging (because containers are disintegrating, animals are picking), out, back in, and so on.

  • Republicans December 28, 2008 (7:59 pm)

    Why is everyone upset? This is what happens when the govt. uses private contractors. They have no motivation to catch up whatsoever, they’re getting paid regardless. Check yer bill.

  • KT December 28, 2008 (8:33 pm)

    An update at 7:53pm on Sunday night that they will issue a statement about tomorrow’s pickup in the next couple of hours? Who is going to be around waiting for that. I say bring the garbage to Greg Nickels front yard and see how fast they get this taken care of.

  • KT December 28, 2008 (8:36 pm)

    “If you put your trash out this weekend because of the announcement that some Thurs/Fri pickups might still be made over the weekend – but they haven’t gotten to you yet – BRING IT IN TILL NEXT THURSDAY, and they’ll try to get to you then … or by Saturday …” … in other words they have adopted the Metro bus incelement weather schedule – we’ll be there when we get there just don’t ask us when.

  • WesCAddle December 28, 2008 (8:37 pm)

    Kind of like Halliburton.

  • JH December 28, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    Hey everyone, you can borrow my squirrels. They have taken most of my garbage down the street. And all over my yard. But they’re doing a great job emptying it!

  • sam December 28, 2008 (8:57 pm)

    sorry neighbors, in advance. I can’t get the recycling bin back up the stairs to the house, when it’s full- gravity works to my disadvantage there.

  • sam December 28, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    bleah- checked the disposal station hours- 8- 5:30.
    I gotta work- to make up for all the hours I missed when I couldn’t get to work cause of the snow and poor poor Metro service.

    I guess I should have gone today, but I was still holding out on hope that we wouldn’t be screwed over once again.

  • Ann December 28, 2008 (9:06 pm)

    I’ve been a resident of the City of Seattle for more than 15 years and I can’t remember an instance when my garbage/yard waste or recycle pick up has been missed. That’s a pretty good track record from my perspective. I think I’d be more upset about the city investing in another 25 plows that sit idle for years waiting for the storm of the decade or using toxins (road salt) that would flow into Puget Sound so that I or garbage trucks may drive about the city in snow storms as if it were any other day. My recycle and garbage cans are overflowing too and I’m hopeful they’ll be picked up this week now that roads are safe. I can’t imagine there’s anything deliberate or irresponsible about not picking up our garbage during this series of extraordinary storms.

  • HT December 28, 2008 (9:39 pm)

    Ann: you are doing a good job of repeating the city’s line about road salt being a “toxin”. But Puget Sound is full of…wait for it…road salt! To be truthful, the freshwater runoff that comes from unsalted snow is much more toxic to the fish and invertebrates of Puget Sound than is salted snowmelt.

    Since it snows every year, and people are put at risk every year with the city’s poor planning for snow days, I would not be at all upset if they finally came to their senses, stopped wasting money on a lot of pet projects that benefit no one (automatic toilets, anyone? That’s only the tip of the iceberg), and instead focused on keeping their streets passable and sanitation services functioning as close to 365 days per year as possible.

    Also, this is NOT the first time that they have missed a garbage pickup, and this time it’s been two weeks running. Try fending off the rats for three weeks and see how YOU like it…

  • WSB December 28, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    We just published the official update, but the info’s the same as here … just written into news release form.

  • Mike Dady December 29, 2008 (6:24 am)

    HT @ 9:39pm, Puget Sound is the receiving body for plenty of storm water runoff. However, there are numerous watersheds within the city of Seattle that are comprised of fresh water creeks that are the conduits for the run off as well. Longfellow Creek, Pipers Creek, Thornton Creek, Fauntleroy Creek, etc.. There is also that large body of freshwater east of Seward Park/Mt. Baker/Laurelhurst/etc. that is ‘downstream’.

    I don’t purport to have any kind of expertise or knowledge of how salt would or would not affect these fresh water sources and the life they support. I also do not know with certainty what affect any salting would have on the many steel bridges, rebar in concrete road beds and other infrastructure within the city.

Sorry, comment time is over.