The significant snowfall the past serveral weeks not only impacted roads, it left garbage and recycling curbside.
A lot of Kirkland garbage went untouched for two to three weeks, depending on the neighborhood’s road conditions and regularly scheduled collection day, said Gary Chittim, communications manager with Waste Management. And the same can be said of Redmond, Snoqualmie and parts of Seattle and Bothell — other areas Waste Management oversees.
In Bellevue, where collection is handled by Republic Services, folks there say they experienced the same. Some of those with pick ups times designated on Mondays, have gone three weeks without collection. Republic also does pickup on Mercer Island.
“Safety concerns prevented us from deploying drivers. In this type of situation, Waste Management’s number-one objective has to be safety – ensuring the safety of our employees and our community,” Chittim said.
On Feb. 14, a Kenmore garbage truck driver found himself pinned beneath his truck. Multiple fire agencies responded, and the authorities dug him out. He escaped with minor injuries.
At the time, speculation surrounded the truck possibly sliding off the side of a steep hill near the 7400 block of Northeast 163rd Street, because of icy conditions.
Chittim stressed that the company was “doing everything we can to keep customers informed as conditions change.”
Information was made available online, as updates become available throughout the day. The company handled phone calls, texts, emails and social media. “Website traffic has been far above normal,” he said.
“We were out assessing the streets every day and resumed only when it was safe to do so,” Chittim said. When collection was resumed, the company agreed to collect materials missed during storms at no extra charge.
But for some, even with communication, the lack of pickup was unacceptable.
Alexa Dickinson, a Kirkland resident, described to the Reporter online the scene she witnessed outside: “My apartment complex turned into basically a large garbage dump.”
“Not only did the trash pile up immensely, but animals started digging into it and spreading it around the street. I had to avoid trash areas when walking my dog because I was afraid she would get close enough to the pile to retrieve a cold piece of discarded meat that had been there for weeks.”
For those who couldn’t wait, Waste Management had the option of garbage drop off during certain hours of day. But neighbors say the notices did not leave enough time for those needing to coordinate around work hours.
“I’m sure they learned from this and hopefully they will do a bit better on the next round,” Kirkland resident RJ Sammons wrote to the Reporter.