If Your Trash Isn't Getting Picked Up, City Says: Well, It Could Have Been Worse

Like Robert said, we were already working on a OneDAY Dallas follow-up post even before Dallas Sanitization Services's errant tweet, which was promptly deleted (and referenced later) following its posting on Unfair Park. First, let's address that issue before jumping into the larger OneDAY trash heap, because as you might expect during these early days of the service's citywide roll-out, there are several issues we need to cover.

As it turns out, this morning's message was tweeted due to the kinda-embarrassing fact that, yes, the city has been picking up our some of our recyclables in garbage trucks, because, shucks, they'd sorta underestimated the number of new trucks needed to roll out the once-weekly trash and recycling program citywide. But as soon as it was posted, it was gone.

Minutes later we were on the phone with Danielle McClelland, a division manager for Dallas Sanitization Services, who said, no, that wasn't "a cover-up" and, no, our bottles and cans were not carted off to McCommas Bluff Landfill.

"They don't need to be alarmed," she says. "But there are a small number of trucks that are labeled as 'refuse' that are being used for recycling. And we are working to get those promptly redone." She says the city had miscalculated the number of recycling trucks needed for the March 1's OneDAY roll-out to 180,000 homes. The city did, however, have some extra garbage trucks, and the operational side of sanitation services hadn't thought about the PR issue that might arise when avid recyclers started telling their friends they saw a trash truck picking up their recyclables.

As to who posted and deleted the tweetfession ...

"I did it, then deleted it," McClelland says. "We tweeted it and put it on Facebook, but then I took them down. I realized maybe we don't want to put that out there." She says she didn't want to make a mountain of trash out of a molehill, since, she insists, her office had only fielded a handful of complains about that issue.

Too bad she can't say the same about other OneDAY problems.

Of course, many of the bumps in the OneDAY road have been basic complaints. You know: missed pick-ups and calls from people who haven't yet figured out when exactly their OneDAY is. And then are the hardcore straight-up refuse rebels.

Remember those 9,000 or so homes who were moved from alleyway pick-up to curbside. Well, they're not all getting with the program.

"We have a few pockets of people who are being ..." McClelland pauses. "They are saying, 'Heck, no! We won't go!' And they aren't putting their trash out on the curb and then calling it in as a missed pick-up."

Dozens, she said, so far have tried the tactic. McClelland warns that those residences are being red-flagged as "repeat collection calls," and let's just say that non-compliance isn't really an option.

There are, however, options for people who really are steamed about the curbside pickups. Seems the trick is to get with your homeowner's associations, because, as McClelland explains, any changes made to those routes "now affect a whole block, not just one household." She says some, including the Peninsula Neighborhood Association near White Rock Lake and the Glencoe Park Neighborhood Association, have been successful in working with the city to address their individual concerns.

"We can't do it on a case-by-case basis, though," McClelland says. "Like, I know the Peninsula Neighborhood Association, they had vegetative issues in the alley. They have made a heroic effort to clear out the alleyways, so for the time being we've moved them to the curb, but they are being worked with right now to get the pick-up back to the alleyways."

However, if it's the actual construction of the alleyway that's keeping the trucks from driving through -- or an impingement, such as a hard right-hand turn or things like gas meters and water meters that can't be moved -- McClelland says those folks don't really have any choice but to adjust to the curbside pick-ups.

And when asked about comments regarding missed pick-ups in this morning's post, McClelland says that there have actually been considerably fewer missed service calls than the city had expected based upon past OneDAY roll-outs.

McClelland says they anticipated about 1,000 missed garbage calls per week, but last week, for example, she says there were 591 missed garbage calls.

Incidentally, McClelland also asked that we mention this: If people have medical conditions or physical factors that prohibit easily pushing the 96-gallon roll carts to the alley or curb, and they can obtain a letter from their doc that says as much, well, for no extra charge the city offers Helping Hands Pack-out service. A sanitiation collector will come to the front or back door of a residence for pick-up.

Actually, anybody can request the door-side Pack-out pick-up by calling 311 -- if, that is, you can get through to 311, where hours have been shortened because of the budget crunch. But for those who are just lazy, the regular sanitation rate of $20.34 jumps to $75.92 a month.

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Daniel Rodrigue
Contact: Daniel Rodrigue