CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Yard waste woes could soon be over for folks in the Queen City.
Over the past couple weeks, many have reached out to WCNC Charlotte on Nextdoor and other platforms, asking why the debris they put on their curb last month still hasn't been collected.
Several neighbors around the city say, after weeks outside, their yard waste has started to rot, smell, and cause flooding problems in their neighborhoods.
The city says the end in sight.
"This has been very difficult for us, but our goal has been to make sure we maintain the health and safety of our employees as well as the citizens," said Brandi Williams, Community Affairs Manager with Solid Waste Services.
In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the city to suspend regular yard waste collection. Solid Waste Services had to take time to consider how to properly equip crews for safety and social distancing.
"Yard waste is collected by two, or three people sometimes, in a cab," said Williams. "We had to think about what that really looked like under these current situations."
Seeing a need to collect storm debris and spring maintenance clippings, the city brought back a one-time service. People just needed to leave their yard waste out by April 27.
By then, Williams says, a months-worth of yard waste piled up, and social distancing guidelines stopped the city from putting out full crews.
The city brought in contractors to help with the workload. It also stocked up on personal protective equipment for crews.
Now, it's working on a long term solution, so regular service can start again.
"What we're doing now is retrofitting all the trucks with sneeze-guards," said Williams. "It's a clear piece of plastic that can sit between the people in the truck."
The city expects to have those guards installed in time for regular service to resume June 1.
As for the ongoing one-time collection, Williams says 30 percent of homes have yet to receive service, but everyone still waiting should have collection done by the end of the week.
Residents can subscribe to waste collection updates by visiting this link.
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