Trash Troubles: City by City Updates
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 19, 2014)
As the trash from flooded homes piles up on curbs, in processing facilities, and in landfills, the most immediate problem facing municipalities is what to do with all that sewer-water-soaked stuff. Residents and city leaders worry over the potential health effects. “ My street, and many others, smell like garbage dumps. I don’t even want the kids to go outside and play,” said one Hazel Park resident. The City has announced they are unsure when Tringali will be able to pick up. While I understand there is an overwhelming amount of trash, I also watch the rats, possums, and raccoon go through the trash. I drive by and see maggots crawling all over the piles of trash. This is beyond unhealthy.”
Cities are looking at bringing in trash haulers from out of the area, and are seeking state and federal emergency support.
Below is a brief look at the trash situation in area cities, with links to more specific information.
Berkley reports that their trash hauler, Tringali, is 5-6 days behind. In a typical week Berkley residents generate 300 tons of trash. In the past week it’s been over 3,000 tons. The City is working with the State and the County on solutions. Additional information, including how to get clean up kits can be found at http://www.berkleymich.org/floodupdate.shtm.
Clawson was one of the hardest hit communities, but they are living up to their motto of “The Little City with the Big Heart.” Here is an update from City Hall on Aug. 18. “After 3 1/2 days of working tirelessly from dawn to dark, Tringali Sanitation made it into Clawson on Friday morning. They worked from East to West through the City and made it about 75% through Clawson on Friday. They returned on Saturday to complete the North and West area of the City. I personally watched late on Friday as they loaded pile after pile of furniture and building materials and personal belongings of so many Clawson residents on to the trash trucks. They had every truck available on the road and so many employees who had also lost their own belongings to this devastating flood and they were all busting their tails to get the streets cleared of the debris. The Tringali Sanitation workers said they have been given water, soft drinks, and various snacks from residents who appreciated how difficult their task was. It truly is overwhelming and sad to see how much was destroyed. Most of my neighbors were so supportive of one another and commented how they had never seen that much rain fall in that short amount of time. I will commend Tringali Sanitation and will also send them a letter of thanks from everyone in Clawson.” For multiple flood-related resources check out http://www.cityofclawson.com/alert_detail.php.
Ferndale gave an update on their Facebook Page stating “Our contractor, Car Trucking has notified us that they as well as other regional haulers are completely backlogged and have stretched their resources picking up curbside garbage for several communities in the region. Car Trucking indicates that they will work hard to complete regular weekly service pickups, and will send additional pickups when they can.
We have issued a NO WARNING policy for scavengers, and all officers have been made aware of this directive. If you see any scavengers approach your house you should call our non-emergency number at 248-541-3650”
Hazel Park was hard-hit by the floods, with over 50% of the homes flooded and no insurance. Congressman Sandy Levin visited the City to survey the devastation. “I informed Congressman Levin that our number one concern was for assistance to uninsured or under-insured residents,” said City Manager Ed Klobucher. “I was grateful that our Congressman flew in from Washington to personally survey the damage was inflicted upon Hazel Park’s residents.” Hazel Park is urging residents to fill out a claim form, available on the City’s website or at City Hall. More info is available at http://www.hazelpark.org/. Klobucher also did a video update for residents:
Huntington Woods has had a problem with people putting out construction refuse. “The City has every intention to collect all debris at the curb. However, the regular trash trucks cannot handle the construction debris that has been placed at the curb because it can damage trucks during the compaction process. The City waste hauler, Tringali, has had damage to five garbage trucks which has taken them out of commission,” an update on their website said. An Aug. 19 announcement states that only trash, not recycling, will be collected this week. Other updates are available at http://www.hwmi.org/newslist.php.
Madison Heights urges residents “Please be advised: Rizzo is moving as fast as they can. They are still working to get all the garbage picked up. Please be patient.” A bigger problem for the City is that a SOCRRA-owned transfer center is now the site of untreated, uncontained, sewer-soaked garbage. The City sent out a press release stating that the illegal operation was putting the city at risk for rats and disease, and SOCRRA subsequently obtained an emergency permit to continue using the Madison Heights location, which is surrounded by homes, a golf course, and a park, as a temporary landfill. For more on the temporary storage situation see https://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/08/19/madison-heights-contends-illegal-dumping-by-socrra/. For more resources for residents see http://www.madison-heights.org/.
Oak Park trash collection is several days behind, and an estimated 5,000 – 8,000 homes have been impacted by the water, causing at least $20,000,000 in damage. City Manager Eric Tungate has expressed gratitude for the patience of residents. “Thank you for your patience. This crisis has once again reminded all of us that there are great people living among us ready to help.” Red Cross kits are available to residents. Information is available on the City of Oak Park website at http://www.oakpark-mi.com/. City Manager Tungate has also done a video updating residents.
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Pleasant Ridge did not issue a State of Emergency like neighboring cities did. Their website explains that this was because they did not incur significant costs to the city, and because a State of Emergency would not be required for residents to get FEMA funding if any should become available, since Oakland County declared one. There are not specific trash updates on the site, but there is claim and other information. Check it out at http://www.cityofpleasantridge.org/.
Royal Oak’s trash collector, Rizzo Services, is currently 2-3 days behind schedule according to their website. “Trash collection has been working extremely hard during the week and on Saturdays. At times, there are 25 trucks and crews working, when normally there are 9 assigned to Royal Oak. The trash volumes are extraordinary, and our waste collection contractor, Rizzo Services, has promised 60 trucks this coming Saturday to work throughout the City. Call 248-246-3246 for daily updates,” the site says. According to a memo to City Commissioners, Rizzo has collected 4.5 times the typical amount of trash. The Police have impounded 42 vehicles left on roadways. And 50% of homes, and 30% of multi-family dwellings were hit with water damage. Royal Oak also has more information on their website at http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us/portal/.
For more flood stories and resources, see:
Trash Troubles: City by City Updates