Philadelphia refuse collectors playing catch-up

PHILADELPHIA - February 21, 2014

Philadelphia sanitation workers Friday were busily catching up on curbside trash and recyclable routes that saw collection delays in the wake the most recent weather. So far, they report dramatic progress across the city.

"There were 3 days we had to cancel collections so that we can assist with the plowing. So we thought we would be a little bit further behind than that. We thought we'd be a full day, but right now we're only a half-a-day behind," says Keith Warren of the Philadelphia sanitation department.

There are still plenty of examples of uncollected trash buildups, but lifetime residents of South Philadelphia are giving the city high marks in contrast to years past when the complaints were endless.

"I felt they've been great. What they've been through with the snow and the cold and the ice. I have a hard time walking, so these poor guys picking up trash, I got to give them credit," Ernie Bozzelli of South Philadelphia told Action News. "I think they're really doing great. I think they're really working hard."

The scene at the corner of Mildred and Wolf outside a public school is a combination of a private contractor still running behind and people from the neighborhood lawlessly dumping their refuse. But at least one lifelong resident says the city has kept its promises.

"The first storm we had, we held it until Friday. And then the second storm we had, they told us to hold it until the following week," said Helen Delario."We put it out and they picked it up."

Tuesday pickup residents have been instructed to hold onto their refuse until this coming Tuesday. But the chief of operations says other than that, the leftovers will be cleared by late Saturday.

"A half-day behind for normal collections, of course early this week we had to suspend collections on Tuesday due to the weather. So Tuesday we'll now be caught up until next week some time," Warren said.

Then it will be back to business and schedules as usual.

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