A Day With The Sanitation Crew

by nataliefox on March 14, 2013

Certainly no one, including me discounts the important and difficult work our sanitation crews do to keep our city clean and healthy.  I recently learned that firsthand one morning when I showed up to work at 4:45am at the Sanitation Department.   It just so happened that they were one person short that day.  I tried to fill that spot but may have been more of a hindrance to them.  I had a lot to learn in a short amount of time.

We hung to the rails on the back of the truck in spite of the dark, cold and rainy morning.  We started the day emptying dumpsters at Taylor County Elementary School and proceeded to some residential streets.  I thought the smells would bother me but I hardly even noticed because we were working so hard.  I certainly have a new appreciation for the entire crew at the sanitation department.

At the end of the shift, I looked at my step counter.  It read over 15,000 steps!  We emptied the truck and learned that we each had lifted nearly 10,000 pounds that day, nearly 5 tons.  No wonder I was so tired, and the next day I was sore all over!

As you might imagine, the sanitation crews have seen some strange things in our garbage.  On one occasion, as the crew was emptying a dumpster, they heard a loud rumble.  When they looked to see what it was, a car engine block rolled out of the dumpster and into the truck.  Needless to say, car engines should not be placed in dumpsters.  While sanitation trucks can crush most refuse, some items can cause damage to the trucks.  Sometimes the garbage reveals clues about a resident’s interests, such as the volume of kitty litter in a trash can that is so heavy it requires three men to lift it.

There are some important reminders for residents when it comes to garbage pickup:

  • Trash should be in containers with lids to discourage animals from scattering trash all over yards and streets.
  • Sanitation trucks will not drive onto private driveways.
  • Crews will not routinely walk to the back of your house to get your trash.  However, if you need assistance please contact City Hall to make arrangements for garbage pickup.
  • Trash should be set out to the street prior to time for pickup. Due to the extra costs involved, sanitation trucks will not backtrack to pick up containers that were set out late.
  • Finally, remove your cans from the streets after garbage pickup. Streets just look better without all those cans sitting or rolling all over the place.

Garbage is unsightly sitting on the street awaiting pickup but it is a necessity.  I encourage everyone to be good stewards of their property as well as the city’s streets. Pick up loose trash in your yard and along the street.  By adhering to these simple guidelines, we can make our city a cleaner place to live.

Next time you see a garbage truck, give the guys a thumbs up.

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