Nashville trash pickup experiencing major delays during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — COVID-19 has affected everything around us, from jobs to groceries, and now it’s affecting our trash pickup.

Many neighborhoods in Nashville are experiencing days of delays in their trash getting picked up, at a time when many people are staying home and may have more trash.

“People don’t know when they’re actually going to come so you see trash in the street,” said Councilwoman Delishia Portfield of District 29, “People don’t know if they should bring the trashcan back down to the house and potentially miss the service or if they should just leave it out.”

It’s an issue that Metro Councilmembers say started with the city’s growth has only gotten worse with COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ll say that coronavirus certainly has made it more difficult, it’s exacerbated the existing issues. More people are at home, creating more residential trash,” Councilman Jeff Syracuse of District 15 told News 2.

Syracuse filed a resolution this past week hoping to put pressure on Red River, the company Metro Public Works has contracted to pick up trash since 2004. The city currently pays them about $7 million dollars.

“We have a lot more homes that have been built around here, new streets to navigate, things like that, and you can’t be doing things the same way when things are changing so much as far as the community goes,” said Syracuse.

Syracuse explained the company has done a fine job, up until the past couple years.

“They have had an issue, like a lot of commercial trucking companies, it’s very competitive right now. And they’ve had a hard time hiring and retaining drivers,” Syracuse explained, “This weekend, the issue, which wasn’t the first time we’ve had this issue for sure, is that they’ve had difficulty with maintenance of their trucks,” he said, adding that he thinks they’ve been spread too thin.

In Antioch, Porterfield said residents have waited up to a week.

“The trash pickup day is Friday, so now you’re talking about almost a full week later, and many people put their trash out on Thursday night, so no one wants to smell the trash sitting out in the heat from Thursday night until Monday, Tuesday, or whenever it could possibly be picked up,” she explained.

Syracuse said he is confident action will be taken in the next two weeks.

“I am very hopeful that in the next week or two that public works and Red River are working hard now to come up with operational, logistical, contractual changes,” he said.

Councilmembers ask that residents report late pick-ups on HUB Nashville so that they can gather hard data. The resolution asks the director of Public Works to declare Red River in breach of their contract.

News 2 has also reached out to Nashville Public Works for more answers.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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