UPPER DARBY TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The trash pickup schedule in Upper Darby Township, Delaware County could be delayed for two weeks as the entire sanitation department is quarantined due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
"Due to a recent outbreak in the sanitation division, and in accordance with the guidance from the governor and the CDC, we've made the joint decision to quarantine the entire sanitation division for two weeks," Mayor Barbarann Keffer said Thursday.
On some streets of the township, trash is already piling up.
"Rodents. Bugs. All that. Definitely, a big problem" resident Vanessa Lay said.
Township leaders announced sanitation trucks and employees won't be out to pick up the trash until at least August 24 because of the COVID-19 cases in the department.
"We thought it was the best move to make a hard stop, get everybody quarantined for the 14 days," Keffer said.
Mayor Keffer and her team said there might be an option to hire private contractors to pick up the trash during the department's quarantine. But there is no guarantee.
She said they plan to release some details on Monday.
Neighbor John Mariana said township leadership is making decisions, like the one on trash, without adequate public comment.
"They have meetings every week just amongst themselves. If you want to ask a question, you have to do it through Zoom and they don't want to answer, so they go to the next question," Mariana.
Resident Martin O'Kane said he is fed up.
"I've been here 27 years in this township," O'Kane said. "I understand COVID, the whole nine yards, but come on guys."
O'Kane said he pays his taxes and trash collection is a necessary public service.
"Is this going to be New York City? We have rats the size of cats?" said O'Kane.
Mayor Keffer said the decision to quarantine the entire department was not made lightly.
"But it was made in the best interest of our township workforce and our township residents. It is very important that everyone understand that the health and safety of our township employees and residents is our primary concern," added Keffer.
Township officials said, in order for sanitation workers to return to work after their quarantine, they will have to bring a doctor's note saying they do not have COVID-19.