Delays due to cold, ice resulting in trash piling up in several St. Paul neighborhoods

February 05, 2019 03:40 PM

Monday's icy roads led to garbage pickup being canceled in several cities across the metro.

In Saint Paul, several haulers delayed service by a day.


For some customers, it's the second delay due to weather in less than a week.

"We're packed full," said Jody Bjornson, surveying the trash can parked outside his home in St. Paul's Battle Creek neighborhood.

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Bjornson set his garbage out for pickup last Wednesday, his regularly scheduled collection day.

Five days later, he and his neighbors are still waiting for their garbage to be picked up.

"Recycling came but garbage, no," said Bjornson.  "No notice, no nothing."


Last Wednesday, five of the haulers St. Paul uses for trash collection picked up their customers' garbage as scheduled.

One hauler, Highland Sanitation, delayed collection by a day. But two companies, Advanced Disposal and Waste Management, canceled service for both Wednesday and Thursday.

As a result, some Advanced Disposal and Waste Management people will go more than two full weeks between collection days.

"They haven't contacted us or said anything," said Waste Management customer Margaret Turk.  "I definitely don't want to put any more in (the garbage can).  We're just going to have to set it outside or something but then you have to worry about the animals because they get into it too."

Bjornson says neither the city nor Waste Management contacted him either about the delay.  He he left his garbage can out on the street figuring a garbage truck would eventually be by.

Following the melting and refreezing over the past several days, Bjornson's trash can is now stuck to the ground.

"It's frozen in there pretty good," said Bjornson.  "Don't know what'll happen.  It might be another week."

Ellen Biales, a spokesperson for the St. Paul's Public Works department, says the city did notify residents of the delays through press releases and by updates posted on the city's website and social media platforms.

Biales says it's up to individual haulers to notify customers directly and not every company has that capability.

However, a spokesperson for Waste Management says the company did notify its customers about the service delay through an "out dial phone message." 

Julie Ketchum with Waste Management Minnesota says some St. Paul residents have not provided phone contact information and therefore did not receive the notification about the service delay.  

Ketchum encourages all St. Paul residents to provide their phone number to Waste Management so they can receive notifications about changes in service.

"We can't control the weather," said Biales.  "Unfortunately, due to the extremes in the weather, there's only so much you can do."

Waste Management released the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

"All haulers in St. Paul do not collect on the same day. Given last Wednesday's life-threatening temperatures, for the safety of our drivers,  Waste Management made the decision to suspend operations. 

Some of the other companies serving St. Paul may not have had last Wednesday as a collection day. These haulers may have provided collection either prior to, or after, the "Polar Vortex" we experienced on Wednesday and therefore did not have to suspend or delay service.

With today's icy conditions, sidewalks and driveways remain extremely hazardous to our drivers, as well as the driving conditions.

Waste Management is one of the largest haulers serving customers in St. Paul.  While we recognize the importance of the service we provide, we also have to consider the safety of our employees and the residents we serve.  

We ask for your patience as we work through these weather challenges."

Advanced Disposal also released a statement regarding the delays in trash collection involving some of its customers in St. Paul:

"The safety of our team members, our customers and the general public in the communities we serve is our top priority and any decision to temporarily halt or cancel service in light of severe weather conditions was made for their safety.  Service will resume as soon as it is safe to do so and all trash will be collected.  We appreciate our customer's patience and understanding during these severe conditions."

According to the City of St. Paul's website, for Advanced Disposal and Waste Management customers who did not have trash pickup last week, extra bags of garbage will be collected this week at no extra cost.

Biales says any customer whose garbage can is frozen to the ground will have the trash removed from it by hand.

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Paul Folger and Tim Vetscher

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