A combination of a recent snowstorm and an outbreak of the flu has left trash piling up on D.C. streets.
The District’s Department of Public Works on Wednesday was battling to clear overflowing trash cans and debris from alleyways, with trash collectors expected to work into the evening most nights this week to catch up, a spokeswoman said.
“Yesterday, crews worked until 7 at night to try to get up as much as we could,” DPW spokeswoman Linda Grant said. “We are making every effort to make rounds everywhere this week.”
Workers began having difficulty making all their collections this month when a bout of the flu made the rounds through DPW staff, causing many workers to call out sick, Ms. Grant said. The problems were complicated last week when a snowstorm dropped about 4 inches of snow on the city — enough to prevent trash trucks from safely navigating city alleyways to make their regular collections. Salt trucks treated some alleyways, but in other areas drivers had to wait until snow and ice thawed.
Ms. Grant couldn’t say Wednesday whether certain parts of the city were suffering more than others from the delayed trash collections. Several residents took DPW to task on Twitter over the lack of collections, specifically in the Northwest D.C. neighborhood of Bloomingdale and portions of Petworth.
“8th and Jefferson overflowing with two weeks worth. And rats,” one resident wrote on Twitter.
Wrote another, “Any chance of a recycling pick up on 4th St in Bloomingdale? It’s been a couple weeks .”
Officials responded dutifully to each Twitter request, assuring residents that workers were doing their best.
Ms. Grant said the department hopes to make all the regularly scheduled rounds by the end of the week.
“We’re starting to get back up to full strength,” she said. “We just want to say thanks to everyone for their understanding.”