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Driver shortage leading to overflowing dumpsters in San Diego neighborhoods

Driver shortage leading to overflowing dumpsters in San Diego neighborhoods
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 20:37:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Concerns are piling up in some San Diego neighborhoods, as residents report delays in trash collection.

In North Park, in an alley between Iowa St. and Illinois St. south of Meade Avenue, frustrations are mounting.

“It’s disgusting, filthy, unhealthy, and problematic in terms of attracting rats and roaches. Dead rats, which I’ve found in my yard,” said Deborah Stone.

Stone says the trash is often overflowing in dumpsters serviced by WM, formerly known as Waste Management.

Stone sent ABC 10News a photo of a recent, overflowing dumpster after several weeks with no pickups.

“It’s a really bad feeling. It's depressing,” said Stone.

In Normal Heights, there is a similar feeling for Joseph Perry, resident manager of an 8-unit apartment complex on Mansfield St.

He says trash pickups started getting delayed early this year. In the past two months, Perry says delays have gotten longer. Mostly recently, nearly four weeks went by without a pickup.

“The flies and the stench was unbearable. Imagine walking from your car to your pocket and having to hold your breath,” said Perry.

Perry says this past weekend, they had to hire a private trash hauler to empty the dumpster and bin for recyclables.

Perry says when they called to complain, the company pointed to the nationwide shortage of garbage truck drivers.

In December, scenes of mounting trash in Chula Vista and other areas, during a month-long strike by workers at Republic Services.

Months later, and for a different reason, the trash is back.

“This is a public health problem … It’s got to be take care of,” said Stone.

Aidan Connell lives at a condo complex in Golden Hill.

“In June, we’ve had more missed collections than attended collections,” said Connell.

A WM spokesperson issued the following statement:

“WM, along with the entire waste-collection industry, is navigating a driver shortage that is affecting collection schedules. WM is taking action by deploying drivers from other California locations to support and streamline the expected, timely and safe service our communities deserve. With the limited talent pool presented to us, we also are offering incentives such as signing bonuses for drivers as well as providing employee-referral bonuses and increasing wages for full-time and temp workers. We’re also hosting targeted hiring events in many areas. WM is committed to our customers, our communities, and the environment – and our team is working hard to ensure accounts are serviced as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic-related supply chain constraints.”