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Trash cans and tempers spilling over in the Twin Cities

Trash cans and tempers spilling over in the Twin Cities
Trash cans and tempers spilling over in the Twin Cities 02:35

MINNEAPOLIS -- Starting now, Minneapolis crews will pick up yard waste every other week instead of weekly.

It's a change that will impact about half the city, according to David Herberholz, director of solid waste and recycling for the city of Minneapolis.

"We've just been short staffed for quite a period of time to the point where it's really wearing on our workforce that shows up every day, so we had to find some relief," Herberholz said.

He said he hopes the city go back to weekly pickup by the time the leaves fall. There's no credit or discount for customers for now, but he says they're working hard to build their staff. Information about pickup days is located on this map. The new changes took effect on June 20.  

In St. Paul, it's a different issue, according to Mayor Melvin Carter.

"We received over 2,800 complaints of missed pickups just in the first 10 days of this month alone, so clearly very unacceptable," Carter said.

Waste Management, which hauls trash for more than half the city of St. Paul, says it's having staffing issues at its Blane Hauling District impacting seven cities in the north metro: St. Paul, Robbinsdale, St. Louis Park, Stillwater, Columbia Heights, Vadnais Heights and Little Canada.


Mayor Carter says it's been an issue for months. A recent letter to the city's haulers cites some weeks-long delays and $50,000 in fines against Waste Management. He also says that the other city haulers didn't pick up the slack for Waste Management -- something required by the consortium's contract.

"We have rate payers and residents in our city who are paying for trash services, who are paying for yard waste services who have not able to rely on those services being held," Carter said.

Waste Management says it's providing credits to customers on invoices, bringing in relief drivers from as far as Milwaukee, and making the job more attractive with more pay, bonuses and more

But for homeowners like Phil Jungwirth?

"In the summer, that's kind of an issue," Jungwirth said.

He says Waste Management misses pickups in his neighborhood roughly once a month. But that they usually come the next day. He says he doesn't need a credit on his bill -- just reliable service.

"Pick up the trash on time [laughs]!" Jungwirth said.

 Mayor Carter met with the haulers last week. He confirmed refunds and credits are in the works.

Carter told WCCO that he wants the issues resolved before he renegotiates a trash hauling contract for the city, something he needs to do soon.


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