Street story: West Seattle double-pickup day ends with one truck’s rescue

The West Seattle neighborhoods that didn’t get their regular Monday solid-waste pickup because of last week’s snow day were invited to put out double this week to make up for it. That made for a longer day, according to some WSB commenters who mentioned late-arriving trucks. And one of those trucks ended the day with a breakdown. Ann Anderson sent photos and the story of how it was rescued:

I always find the behind the scenes of city works to be really interesting. Don’t know how many others do, but on my way home tonight about 8:30 pm, the neighborhood was all lit up by what I thought were fire engines. Turns out all the oncoming glare and flashing lights were due to Garbage Truck No. S297S, disabled on SW Atlantic St. in North Admiral.

So I wondered – when a fully loaded, 20-ton truck breaks down, who ya gonna call?

Michael, the tow truck driver, answered my questions while finishing a fairly involved procedure needed to prep the garbage truck for towing. This required him to lie down beneath 200 tons of steel-encrusted garbage hoisted several feet off the ground directly above him. He said that when the garbage trucks break down on the road, they call the City’s towing contractor, Quality Towing, for whom Michael works.

Lifting and hauling away behemoths like garbage trucks is quite a production and takes some time. The tow rig is 40 feet long and is so big that it makes a hulking garbage truck actually look small.

The rig is equipped with a whopping 550 hp that can yield 100,000 lbs. of lift, so hoisting 40,000 lbs. of garbage truck is only a moderate workout.

I asked Michael how often garbage trucks break down. He said that it happens almost every day. He then added, “there are a LOT of trucks out there”.

It seems it takes going without, even for a short time due to inclement weather, for us to appreciate city services (like curbside garbage pickup) as well as the wide range of service workers who consistently ensure they happen for us – often at all hours of the day and night.

14 Replies to "Street story: West Seattle double-pickup day ends with one truck's rescue"

  • rob February 14, 2017 (3:25 am)

    i’ll be that guy…40,000 pounds is 20 tons, not 200. 

    • Swede. February 14, 2017 (7:02 am)


      I was gonna point that out to. 200 tones is A LOT! 

  • TheKing February 14, 2017 (4:15 am)

    Cool story. Nice to see the behind the scenes, unappreciated people getting some spotlight. Thank you

  • justme February 14, 2017 (6:51 am)

    Great story Ann!

  • SGG February 14, 2017 (7:24 am)

    Many people didn’t get their trash picked up yet again on the thirteenth after being skipped last week.  They did get recycling and compost yesterday though, but no trash.

    • DK February 14, 2017 (1:45 pm)

      Which in reality shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t make much garbage, as we all shouldnt. 

      • chemist February 14, 2017 (3:40 pm)

        If you’re regularly putting out only 1/3 of a garbage can, you save a lot of money dropping the size down.

        I’ve lived in apartments that struggle with dumpsters getting too full after missed collections, so size isn’t everything.

        ….that’s what she said. *rimshot*

  • miws February 14, 2017 (7:43 am)

    I’ve always enjoyed learning about,  and observing when possible, “behind the scenes” situations. 

    Thanks, Ann, and WSB! 


  • Cathy February 14, 2017 (7:52 am)

    Love those folks who work all hours to provide us with services!

  • Meg February 14, 2017 (8:04 am)

    We were one of the houses that didn’t get picked up for the 2nd Monday in a row. The truck did show up this morning thankfully. 

    • Kathleen February 14, 2017 (5:36 pm)

      Mine didn’t get picked up last week or yesterday. I called and reported the missed collection, but so far no pick up. Fingers crossed that it gets picked up tomorrow. 

  • Paul Binder February 14, 2017 (10:04 am)

    This is a great article!  Thank you so much.

  • Elma February 14, 2017 (10:39 am)

    So many services we take for granted and do not appreciare the complexity of providing that service. Thank you for the great story, Ann!

  • West Coast Nomad February 14, 2017 (10:22 pm)

    Great story and pic! And hope the folks who were missed again get service soon!

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