Trash pickup back on schedule sooner than expected

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published August 26, 2014

 Trash piles up along Minerva Avenue in Royal Oak in the days after the Aug. 11 flood.

Trash piles up along Minerva Avenue in Royal Oak in the days after the Aug. 11 flood.

Photo by Nick Mordowanec

When Rizzo Environmental Services was planning to send a fleet of trucks to Royal Oak and other communities hardest hit by the flood, it had planned to make only a significant dent in the backlog of trash since the Aug. 11 flood.

But after sending 75 trucks to Royal Oak Aug. 23 and then a smaller number Aug. 24, the city announced that trash pickup was again on schedule and recycling services were back up.

But with many people still requesting volunteers to help them with cleaning up their basements, it is clear the effects of the flood are still making their way to curbs.

“A lot of these people have experienced devastating losses for which the insurance is not going to cover,” said Joe Munem, the director of government affairs for Rizzo. “The least we could do is help them move forward in their lives.”

With that, Rizzo still is relaxing some of its rules on pickup for those who are continuing to empty out their basements.

“We are taking it,” Munem said. “But it needs to be brought to the curb in an orderly fashion.”

The waste company measured damage using the amount of garbage it picked up in the days following the flood as compared to a normal week.

While Royal Oak’s numbers didn’t jump the most among the cities Rizzo services, the increase was substantial. The week before the flood, Rizzo hauled away 455 tons of garbage. The week following the flood, it hauled away 1,341 tons.

Judy Davids, Royal Oak’s community engagement specialist, said calls to the city and to volunteer groups have not ebbed in the weeks since the flood.

“We know by the number of calls we continue to get that a lot of people aren’t done yet,” Davids said.