INDIANAPOLIS — People on the south side of Indianapolis are getting ready to take their trash service into their own hands after waiting weeks for the Department of Public Works to empty their cans.
The problem is on Weaver Avenue where neighbors there say trash bins are beginning to overflow. Wednesday will mark three weeks since the last time a trash truck picked up their garbage.
”It’s getting crazy. We’re seeing more racoons and opossums and wild cats going through and digging,” said Weaver Avenue resident Toby Anderson.
Anderson said he called the Mayor’s Action Center, but after waiting on hold for 20 minutes, he gave up.
”I get tired of hearing music playing and hang up because nobody is answering that line,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he then reached out to FOX59. We came to Weaver Avenue and saw nearly every trash can in the 4100 and 4200 block overflowing. Multiple neighbors told us they had been waiting nearly three weeks.
”I’m not sure what the answer is, all I know is we need our trash picked up,” said Don Willis, one of those frustrated neighbors.
Willis said he talked to someone on the Mayor’s Action Center, but nothing has come of his report.
”’We’re going to put you on the list. Here’s a case number,'” Willis said of his interaction with the mayor’s line. “Well, what use is that if they don’t pick up?”
Willis said he called DPW on Thursday, and someone told him they’d be out to get the trash soon.
”They said, ‘We’ll have somebody out there in the next day or two,’ and it’s still sitting there,” Willis said, pointing to his nearly full trash can.
As they wait to see if the trash truck comes by their street Wednesday, Willis said he and others are thinking about taking the trash issues into their own hands.
”Maybe we’ll just have to take it over to the city dump and then send them the bill,” he said.
DPW spokesperson Ben Easley said they’re short almost two-thirds of their solid waste collection staff right now.
”We’re usually up over about 60 people, so it’s significant that were down 20 folks,” Easley said.
To be clear, Easley said they can get the routes done with the people they have, but when people start to need days off, that is when problems can arise.
“If anybody starts needing sick leave, FMLA, time off, anything like that, we’re just increasingly susceptible to issues in coverage of the various routes,” Easley said.
When workers who are normally there aren’t, Easley said DPW is forced to put patchwork crews who can sometimes miss streets. He can’t say for sure if that is what happened to Weaver Avenue, but did say the district the street is in has been missing some usual crew members.
”We do know that those areas in particular in district seven have seen several instances in which we had to piece together coverage for that route just due to some of the staffing shortages for that route we have seen over the past couple of weeks,” Easley said.
If DPW misses your trash pickup, Easley said the best thing to do is wait until the day after collection day and then reach out to the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4622. Easley said you can also reach out to the Request Indy online portal.
Easley said if crews miss your street, they will sometimes come by in the days after, so it is a good idea to leave your bins out.
”We have called folks in in the past couple weeks on some Saturdays to cover routes that weren’t finished on the day of services,” Easley said.
In fact, two people who reached out to FOX59 about uncollected trash said DPW crews came by and grabbed the garbage on Saturday.
As for the neighbors on Weaver Avenue, trash day is Wednesday. When asked about if trash would be picked up, Easley said it is always DPW’s aim to complete service on the regular day, and crews will complete their routes as normal.