Once-a-week trash pickup could become the new norm in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Nearly a year after Hurricane Ida, New Orleanians can only remember what it was like to have twice-a-week trash pick-up.
New contracts being proposed by the city call for only one trash pick-up day per week.
In the days and weeks immediately following Ida, trash pick-up was nonexistent, leading to piles of garbage and debris littering neighborhood streets, stinking up the city.
“The garbage was a total public health hazard,” one New Orleans resident who identified herself only as Morgan said during a Public Works Committee meeting. “The rats, racoons, just no more bags, no more cans. Just on the street.”
In October of 2021, the city called for a temporary reduction to once-a-week pickup.
“With once a week pick up, we got cans on the street,” she said.
While the contracts still have to be finalized, proposals call for only one trash collection day per week, mainly because twice-a-week pick-up cost too much.
“We’re going to see an increase of $8.6 million for just Service Area 2 for once-a-week solid waste collection. When we looked at twice-a-week solid waste collection, it was an increase of $13.9 million,” Sanitation Director Matt Torri said.
The IV Waste contract would cost $11.4 million and the Waste Pro contract would cost $7.99 million. Both contracts would be for seven years. The agreement would bring back curbside recycling, additional cans, and new trucks outfitted with real-time GPS systems and 360-degree cameras, so that supervisors can monitor how efficient crews are and if they missed a home.
An additional three garbage trucks would be brought in, bringing the total up to 24. There will also be six grapple trucks, four skate body trucks, and seven recycle trucks.
“The enhanced equipment and technology associated with it will allow us to efficiently pick up the volume that will be on the curbside once a week,” Torri said.
IV Waste and its owner, Sidney Torres, have been near the center of a series of Lee Zurik investigations into the bidding process for post-Ida cleanup in Kenner and the lack of oversight and record-keeping, which could jeopardize reimbursement of millions of dollars.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor said it recovered nearly $107,000 in back wages owed to IV Waste employees who were improperly denied overtime and bonus pay.
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Councilmembers also addressed complaints about Richard’s Disposal, the company responsible for pick-up in Uptown, Garden District, Algiers and Central City.
Sanitation officials say that Richard’s continues to be plagued by service failures and within the next month or so, the city will decide whether or not a new waste management company needs to step in.
Resident’s complaints about Richard’s this year have surpassed those from last year, with 1,731 complaints now compared to 1,663 in 2021.
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