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City of New Orleans announces ‘temporary’ reduction to once-weekly trash collection for most customers

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 9:29 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans on Saturday (Oct. 9) announced that trash collection for most city residents and businesses would be reduced to once weekly.

“It’s time to bring some predictability so that our residents can better prepare for their trash collection,” New Orleans Sanitation Director Matt Torri said in a written statement announcing the decision. “We are confident this temporary move will help to get us back on track.”

Consistent solid waste collection has been problematic throughout most of the city even in the weeks before Hurricane Ida struck on Aug. 29. But despite a recent outlay of an estimated $20 million to add four emergency contractors to tackle the city’s trash crisis, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration announced the drastic service reduction in an unusually timed Saturday morning press release.

The service reduction affects customers serviced by Metro Services Group and Richard’s Disposal, the two biggest contractors paid to collect trash throughout most of the city. Customers in the French Quarter and parts of the Central Business District and Faubourg Marigny that are serviced by another vendor are not affected.

In its written statement, the city said the new approach will “bring a level of consistency to residents” and would “effectively enable twice the number of trucks to operate in the designated area on each service day.” It said more details of the plan and a new trash collection schedule would be made available Sunday on the sanitation department’s website.

Residents, such as Jenny James of Broadmoor, say her trash collection was inconsistent even before Ida.

“I personally am already afraid to miss a trash day two days a week because of what’ll happen,” she said. “So if it’s only one day a week, I’m just going to have to leave my trash can out all week to make sure it gets taken.”

City sanitation director Matt Torri told Fox 8 in a later interview that he cannot say whether or when twice-weekly trash collections might resume.

“I can’t give a set timeframe on how long this temporary action will take, except to say that as we continue to devote resources and get healthier in Service Area 1, that will allow us to potentially move back,” Torri said.

For what was described as Service Area 1 (most of the East Bank and Algiers on the West Bank), the city said it will “continue to monitor progress to determine whether a return to twice-weekly collection is feasible in the near future.”

The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once...
The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once per week solid waste collection in Service Areas 1 and 2 to bring a level of consistency to residents.(City of New Orleans)

For what was described as Service Area 2 (Gentilly through New Orleans East), the city said it “plans to initiate a new procurement within the next 60-90 days.” Once that new contract has been awarded, the statement said, “information about the frequency of collections will be shared.”

The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once...
The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once per week solid waste collection in Service Areas 1 and 2 to bring a level of consistency to residents.(City of New Orleans)

The city also said that customers’ sanitation fees would be suspended in November and reflected as a credit on their monthly Sewerage & Water Board bill.

The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once...
The City of New Orleans announced that effective immediately, it will temporarily shift to once per week solid waste collection in Service Areas 1 and 2 to bring a level of consistency to residents.(City of New Orleans)

Residents have complained for weeks about the inconsistent or non-existent removal of trash piling up throughout the city. One man even was arrested last month after allegedly threatening to shoot Cantrell over the trash issue in a recorded call to 911.

Fox 8 reporter Josh Roberson contributed to this story.

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