Revamped bulk trash collection to begin Dec.18

Jeremy Lazarus | 12/15/2017, 6:43 a.m.
A new program that aims to create a cleaner Richmond will launch Monday, Dec. 18. Under the program, the city’s ...

A new program that aims to create a cleaner Richmond will launch Monday, Dec. 18.

Under the program, the city’s Department of Public Works staff and trucks will begin collecting every two weeks brush, small tree limbs and many other items that do not fit into a Supercan, according to Bobby Vincent, director of Public Works.

The service will take place on the same day that trash and recycling materials are picked up, he said.

The department purchased eight new trucks and hired 15 additional staff to handle the extra work for the program that Mayor Levar M. Stoney proposed and Richmond City Council approved.

Richmond residents have been paying an extra 80 cents a month since July for trash pickup to fund the new effort to prevent bulk trash from piling up.

For the past year, Public Works has been clearing a huge backlog of requests for such service, with employees working weekends.

Mr. Vincent recently noted that the more than 3,000 requests for bulk trash pickup service have been cut to less than 200 before the launch of the new program.

One concern expressed by City Council and still unsettled is the new program largely will bar the collection of mattresses, used tires and upholstered furniture that is left in alleys.

Currently, Public Works collects those items that are left outdoors as part of its bulk trash pickup, Mr. Vincent stated. But under the new program, that will change, a fact that Councilwoman Kim B. Gray, 2nd District, believes undermines the program.

Mr. Vincent told the Free Press that Public Works is following the City Code, which bars legal collection of upholstered, indoor-type furniture, used tires, mattresses and hazardous chemicals.

Those items would not be collected immediately, he said. Instead, property owners would be notified to remove the items within 48 hours or face sanctions.

“If that does not happen, we will pick up the items, issue violation notices and proceed from there,” he said. “I don’t want neighbors to think that we would just leave them there.”

Additionally, he said, a cadre of people will be looking for violations, which has not been the case before this program, he said.

“City inspectors and other off-duty conservators of the peace” whom the city would appoint “will be issuing notices of violations and/or other citations,” Mr. Vincent stated.

He said residents would have two options if they want those banned items to be picked up.

They can call for service, he stated, but be charged $100 for furniture removal and $50 for the pickup of stoves, refrigerators or other appliances.

Twice a year, Public Works will announce neighborhood cleanups and will pick up mattresses, used tires and upholstered furniture during those cleanup days.