'This is no way to live': Trash pickup in Philly is behind; residents fed up with slow service

Philadelphia is down in the dumps in more ways than one, as trash is not getting picked up. And, not just this week, but it’s been happening week after week.

On Richmond Street, the flies are having a field day with the trash piled near Helen Macewan’s home. The lifelong resident of Port Richmond says the smell turns her stomach.

"This is no way to live. We shouldn’t have to live like this. You don’t want to go to your car, because of the stench," Macewan explained.

She says it’s been this way since Thursday evening when residents put their garbage out for the neighborhood’s Friday morning pickup.

But, the trash truck didn’t show Friday, or Saturday; not Sunday or even early Monday morning.

Mary’s Lunch, a restaurant on Richmond Street, has been in Nancy O’Connor’s family 40 years.

"We’re having a problem with mice, with roaches and if you have trash out too long, they’ll give you a $50 fine," O’Connor lamented.

Philadelphia’s Streets Department says it doesn’t know of any fines, but admits trash has sat on street corners beyond its pickup day. It pins it on 30 percent more garbage produced by residents spending extra time at home and a rainy Memorial Day weekend prompting sick calls by trash workers.

"If you have a point in time when things go bad, as it did over Memorial Day, when it rained and we have a lot of tonnage and then staff outage, it puts you behind," Deputy Commissioner of the Streets Dept. Christopher Newman stated.

The Streets Department says it’s hired 185 more workers, is reassigning staff and using overtime to catch up.

Just Monday afternoon, FOX 29’s Jeff Cole spots a crew on Pacific Street tossing trash and recycling into the same truck.

"You guys just taking it all? Trash and recycling?" asked Cole.

"We got to take everything right now, because we’re so backed up," a sanitation worker replied.

"Just put it all in one?" Cole asked again.

"Right," the worker answered.

"I’m not bringing back disgusting trash into my house that should have been picked up," Macewan said.

The trash was cleared by early afternoon.

The Streets Department says it hopes to be back on schedule by June 26, but delays could continue into the next week.

Bill Marquett watched it all with his cat, Buddy.

"What did you think when they showed and picked it all up," Cole asked him.

"It’s their routine. It’s their routine. Better late than never," Marquett answered.



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