- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - D.C. officials are blaming the weather and the flu for trash that’s piling up.

The Washington Times reports (http://bit.ly/1gtIejy ) that the Department of Public Works is working to clear away trash in alleyways.

Trash collectors are expected to work into the evening most nights this week to catch up, DPW spokeswoman Linda Grant said.

“Yesterday, crews worked until 7 at night to try to get up as much as we could,” Grant said Wednesday. “We are making every effort to make rounds everywhere this week.”

Influenza has been making the rounds through the staff, causing many workers to call out sick, Grant said. The problem was compounded by last week’s snowstorm, which kept trucks from making their rounds safely, she said. Salt trucks treated some alleyways, but elsewhere drivers had to wait until snow and ice melted.

Some residents called the department out on Twitter over the lack of collections, complaining of overflowing bins and rats. Officials responded to the complaints, noting that workers are doing their best.

The department hopes to make all the regularly scheduled rounds by the end of the week, Grant said.

“We’re starting to get back up to full strength,” she said. “We just want to say thanks to everyone for their understanding.”

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Information from: The Washington Times, http://www.washtimes.com