The city of Williamsburg’s Public Works Department has changed how garbage is collected to protect its employees.
Garbage truck drivers have started not manually picking up items outside of a resident’s cart.
City spokeswoman LeeAnn Hartmann said typically, residents will place bags of debris and trash next to their garbage carts when they overflow and it causes truck drivers to have to get out of the vehicle and manually collect the extra bags.
Now because of coronavirus concerns, the public works department is trying to limit the amount of contact these drivers have with excess items.
“Anytime you’re touching something anyone else has touched, it’s a risk,” Hartmann said “Let’s say everyone on a street had something sitting near their cart that the drier would have to touch. That’s coming into contact with items from multiple homes and putting their safety at risk.”
The garbage trucks are equipped with a mechanical arm that comes out of the truck and lifts the cart to empty it into the vehicle. If a person’s cart doesn’t have items placed beside it, then a truck driver won’t have to leave the vehicle to collect the trash.
Tammy Rojek, assistant to the director of Public Works, said there are two trucks from Republic Services, a waste removal company contracted by the city, that have one driver each and are servicing about 3,000 people each week on their routes.
While the new policy has been in place for a few weeks now, Hartmann said there are still many residents who aren’t aware and are confused as to why their extra trash isn’t being collected.
The city has reached out to the public in various ways and wants residents to know that if their trash is outside their cart, it won’t be collected.
Hartmann said she has recommended sharing extra bin space with neighbors if it becomes an issue. For someone who lives alone, they might have extra room in their garbage bins that can accommodate the trash from another neighbor.
Trash bins should be placed out on the curb by 7 a.m. on collection day. Bulk items such as appliances or furniture will still continue to be collected by appointment.
Those with questions can call the Public Works Department at 757-220-6140.
For more information, visit the city of Williamsburg online.
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