Friday, October 15, 2010

Inside My Empty Dumpster

Have you even wondered what the inside of a dumpster looks like? Well, Thursday was garbage day in my back lane. The garbage truck came, as expected, and emptied the dumpsters in my back lane.
When I got home, I went into the back lane and had a look at the inside of my empty dumpster and the two dumpsters on either side of my dumpster. I know if I had my own personal dumpster or garbage cans, I would keep the inside clean, or at the very least ensure there is no garbage residue stuck and growing in the bottom of the trash can.
There is definitely garbage residue stuck to the bottom of the dumpsters. I never did get an answer from 311 regarding the schedule for cleaning the dumpsters or if my dumpster has ever been cleaned, but I decided to request the three dumpsters close to my residence to be cleaned. I have been advised that it may take up to 5 business days for the cleaning. I am not sure how they sanitize a full dumpster. Maybe they replace the dumpster with a new, clean one. I will wait and see.
In the summer it is worse, with the insects, flies, wasps, and odor. At least now it is just disgusting garbage at the bottom of the dumpsters.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do The Dumpsters Ever Get Cleaned Out Or Sanitized?

I was at a neighbourhood meeting last week talking about issues with the dumpsters in the North End. While the topic was being discussed, one  of the people at the meeting mentioned that the dumpsters do get sanitized or cleaned out. They said it was part of the contract with the Waste Management Company. My answer to that was "Really ????". What a thought. You mean I could actually do something to cut down on the stench coming from these dumpsters? Maybe the maggot infested metal boxes that run the length of my back lane could get sanitized? Wow.
So, of course, I sent an email to 311. In the email I said:
I was told by someone that the dumpsters in the North End are to be cleaned on the inside on some sort of regular basis. I was also told that they were to be repaired with such things as new lids, etc, as needed.
I would like to know if this is true, and what the contract states regarding the cleaning and maintenance of dumpsters in the North End.
I got a reply from 311 as follows:
I have taken a look in my information system and unfortunately I do not have any information on a cleaning agreement between the City and the contractor.  I have sent a message to a garbage supervisor asking them to contact you with such information. They will look into your inquiry within three business days. Your reference number is 439234.

I do however know that autobin repairs are conducted as necessary. We at 311 can take reports for sure maintenance requests and send them off to the department. Maintenance concerns are usually looked after within five business days.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call any time of day.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

This week I received an email from the Acting Supervisor of Garbage Collection, Ken Fargher:

This e-mail is in response to your inquire to 311.  The sanitizing and maintenance of the autobin in the north end of the city is under contract along with the collection.  It is granted under the tendering process thru a bid opportunity.
I hope this answered your question.

Ken Fargher
Acting Supervisor of Garbage Collection
City of Winnipeg
Water and Waste Department
Solid Waste Services Department
That was not quite what I had asked so I resent the email to Ken:

Thankyou for responding to my question that I sent to 311 last week.
I am asking if the dumpsters are cleaned, and basically how often they are cleaned. I am not aware of our dumpster ever being cleaned and would be interested in having it, as well as the other dumpsters in my back lane cleaned.
So, basically, I am wondering how often they are cleaned and the last time my dumpster and the others in my back lane have been cleaned and if they can be cleaned again.
The response I got back was as follows:
HI xxx The process for having the bin sanitized is to call 311 and request the bin by your home to be sanitized. 311 will then create a customer service request. Our contracts foreman will receive the request and investigate to see what is required to remedy the problem.

I still do not know if the dumpsters are cleaned on any sort of regular or annual basis. I do not know if it is in the contract that the Waste Management Company gets a specific amount of money for this cleaning as a base amount, or if they are paid per unit of cleaning only. If I request the dumpster to be cleaned what does it cost us as tax payers? And what do they do? Do they remove the dumpster and replace it with a clean one or do they clean it where it is in the back lane?
What I really want, as a tax payer, is for all of the dumpsters to be cleaned and sanitized. This should be done at least once a year. If I had my own garbage cans I would be cleaning them any time some nasty stuff was left in the bottom. I want to put a request in for every dumpster in the North End to get cleaned. But what would that cost? Maybe now is not a good time, as it is getting cold. But I sure want them cleaned in the spring when the rotting garbage starts to melt.
And I still want to know if we are paying for this cleaning in the contract, and it is not getting done. That would really upset me.
Should the dumpsters get cleaned? How often should they be cleaned? Should the Waste Management company wait until a citizen puts a request in to the 311 line so a supervisor could come and investigate to see if the dumpster really needs cleaning? How dirty or stinky does a dumpster have to be in order to get cleaned? Is the supervisor going to come out when the dumpster is empty? He better follow the garbage trucks if that is his intention. Dumpsters don't stay empty in the North End. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Couches And Mattresses And City Tax Dollars

When a couch or a mattess gets deposited in the back lanes of the North End several different things may happen to it.
  • Someone may call 311 and report the item for bulk pickup, then a supervisor for the City of Winnipeg may visit the area and confirm that the item truely is there, and a garbage truck can drive down the lane and pick up the item.
  • The item may just sit in the back lane for a week, a month, several months, attracting rodents and insects.
  • If there is metal in the item, it may be dismantled and the metal may be removed and taken by someone who is scrapping, leaving the remaining carcass in the back lane.
  • The item may get set on fire, causing fire trucks and police to come to the scene.
The couches that were on fire in this picture caused one fire truck and four police cars to come to the scene. This happened on Saturday night at dusk.

The mattresses in this photo were one block away, and likely burned the same day.

How much does it cost to dispatch one fire truck and four police cars?

When will we get this issue of bulk garbage addressed? I look at these back lanes and I don't understand how the City of Winnipeg can have such a pathetic system for taking care of the bulk garbage dumped in the back lanes of the North End. Even when a garbage truck is dispatched to the North End to pick up bulk garbage, they only pick up specific items. They pick up items that are on their "ticket", and drive right past all the other bulky items sitting in the back lane.
How much tax money is spent in this extremely wasteful system of dispatching garbage trucks for specific items, and leaving all the other bulk items behind to await their fate. How many bulk items will be set on fire awaiting their special ticket to be prepared and sent to the Waste Management Company which is happily profiting from this absurd contract it has set up with the City of Winnipeg? How long are the citizens of Winnipeg going to stand for this blatant waste of tax payer money before they demand the City change the contract with the Waste Management Company so that bulky items are picked up when found. When will the City catch on that there are always bulky items in the back lanes of the North End and need to be picked up on a regular basis, and not just item by item in specific ticket requests?
How much money has already gone to this Waste Management Company from ticket requests for bulky items to be picked up in the North End, one item at a time, in the fashion that has been going on with this current contract? Somebody should look into this. It has got to be an insane amount of money being made by the Waste Management Company.