Friday, October 22, 2010

The Visible Cleaning Of The North End

There were signs along our street last night letting us know that we could not park on the street today during the day. This happens every year at this time. It is time for the street cleaners to come down the road, remove the leaves, and give the streets one last cleaning before winter.
On my way out this afternoon I actually saw the street cleaner coming down the road. As I walked to my minivan, yes my minivan (got it back Wednesday), as I walked to my minivan I saw some other cleaning going on. One individual, wearing an orange safety vest, was picking up garbage along the side of the road, and another individual was mowing the boulevard.
I find it funny how the visible areas of the North End get cleaned. They are cleaned religiously, every spring and fall. But the not so visible areas are left out of the equation.
Do the people in City Hall make conscious decisions to clean areas that can be seen by them as they drive home from work along major arteries? How do they decide what gets cleaned on an annual, or semi-annual basis? What makes the few leaves on the front street such a high priority every spring and fall? Why are a few pieces of garbage on the front street getting picked up while the back lanes remain riddled with garbage? What makes the autobins, bulk garbage, and hidden areas such a low priority when the City decides to implement cleaning plans?
Is City Hall so compartmentalized that one department has absolutely no idea what another department is doing? Who decides the budget for street cleaners compared to the budget for autobin sanitization? Is garbage a non-issue for the City when planning fall cleanup because it has been outsourced? Is that why the back lanes of the North End are in the condition they are now in? Is the City so detatched from Waste Management that they never check if the contract they made is being upheld? Is this why my dumpster was rarely emptied prior to my contacting 311 in June? Is this why we have such problems with bulk garbage getting picked up in our back lanes? Is this why the autobins are never included in the fall clean-up of the City?
And when a citizen does take it upon themselves and do some fall cleaning of the autobins, why is it done so poorly?
My email request to 311, in requesting the cleaning and sanitizing of autobins in my back lane went as follows:
Could you please have the bins near my house sanitized. There is cat litter
stuck to the bottom of the bin at the back of xxx xxxxx Ave. There is misc
garbage stuck to the bottom of bins behind xxx xxxxx Ave and xxx xxxxx Ave. I
would like to have them cleaned and sanitized please.
I provided adequate information to let them know I wanted the bins cleaned and sanitized. I wanted the cat litter and rotting garbage removed from the bottom of the bins, and I wanted the bins sanitized. I did not expect to have sanitizing solution sprayed or tossed on top of rotting garbage. I do not consider that a job well done. I have requested a call from a supervisor of Waste Management to see why this was not done.

It's Official - The Dumpsters Have Been Sanitized

Well, I got a response from 311 this morning. I sent an email last night inquiring about the sanitizing of the three dumpsters I had requested last week. The email I received stated the 'tickets' (requests for each dumpster sanitizing) were closed, which indicates the work has been completed.
That being said, I went to the dumpsters and had a look, in daylight this time. I took photos of the dumpsters at noon yesterday, after the dumpsters were emptied and before the sweet smell of bleach appeared in the lane.

The garbage stuck to the bottom of this dumpster still remains. And this dumpster does not smell of any sort of sanitizing agent. I think they forgot to sanitize one of the dumpsters on their list.

This dumpster had, and still has, cat litter stuck to the bottom of the dumpster. But it no longer smells of burned garbage, and the odor of cat litter is not present.

This last dumpster has the same sweet smell of sanitizing product, so it has been sanitized. But how they managed to sanitize it and keep the garbage intact along the bottom and side of the dumpster should be commended.

I had no idea how the dumpsters were going to be sanitized when I made the request. I simply knew that I could request it. I thought I could get them cleaned. And I thought I could get them sanitized. But I guess all I can really do is have someone from waste management drop by and spray a sanitizing agent over the already existing garbage.

Could you imagine if your Dad asked you to clean the garbage can. If he said there was something stuck to the bottom and he wanted you to have it cleaned and sanitized by the time he got home from work? I would not want to be around when he found out that all you did was toss a bit of bleach into the bottom of the can.

If this is all the Waste Management people do when a request is put in to have a dumpster cleaned or sanitized, then why are the 5400 autobins not sanitized on a yearly basis, at the very least. And how much do they charge the City of Winnipeg for dropping by and giving the dumpster a fresh smell of sanitizing agent? I am sure it is tossed in or sprayed, but there could not possibly be any sort of scrubbing or scraping involved in the process. The garbage that was in the bottom of these three dumpsters did not seem to move an inch in the sanitizing process.  Maybe I should just get a jug of bleach and toss some into the garbage bins myself when they start to stink. I will send my bill to City Hall.

I have requested a supervisor from Waste Management call me to explain the procedures of cleaning and sanitizing the autobins.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Did Someone Throw Bleach In My Dumpster?

Today is Thursday. That means it is Garbage Day in my back lane. And of course my dumpster, along with all the other dumpsters in my lane got emptied today. It has not been that long ago when I would not have been able to say that. I remember the first week that I started this blog, near the end of August. The garbage truck came down the lane and emptied most of the garbage bins, but did not empty all of them. And I remember back in June, when I first called 311 to tell them that my dumpster had not been emptied for three weeks, and I was tired of the garbage truck driving down my lane and selecting which dumpster or dumpsters it would empty that week.
But now I get my dumpster emptied every Thursday. This Thursday was special in a different way as well. It was business day 5 after I requested my dumpster by sanitized. I received my email notification from 311 on October 14 at 9:47pm that the three autobins I requested would be sanitized within 5 business days.  So, Friday Oct 15 would have been one business day. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, yes Thursday Oct 21 would be business day 5.
I went out into the back lane around noon today and the dumpsters were empty. I could see the garbage stuck to the bottom of the dumpsters, and my burned out dumpster smelled of fire. I knew as of noon that the dumpsters had not been cleaned or sanitized. I wondered what they would do when they sanitized them. They must have to take the dumpsters away to get them properly cleaned. They must have to clean them when the dumpsters are empty.
I went out to vote tonight, and when I came back, I took a drive down the lane. It was dark already, but I thought I would be able to see if my burned dumpster was still there. I stopped in the alley and got out of the car. I could smell bleach. One of the other dumpsters had garbage in it, and it smelled of bleach. I went to my burned out dumpster and it smelled of bleach as well. The third dumpster had garbage stuck to the inside and had no smell of bleach. Unfortunately the back lane has only three lights. There is a light on every second pole in the back lane. And the only dumpster that I could really get a good look inside was the one that did not smell of bleach.
I sent an email to 311 tonight asking for an update on the request to sanitize the three autobins. I should have an answer on that tomorrow. But I find the only information they really have on these tickets is that they are open or closed, or they are sent on to a different department.
I will have to go out into the lane tomorrow morning to see what has been done.
But so far, it seems like someone threw a bucket of bleach into two of the dumpsters.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Dumpster Was On Fire And I Didn't Even Know It !!!

I was getting ready to go to the Mayoral Debate tonight at the Indian and Metis Friendship Center, just waiting for my husband to get home from work. He came in the door and asked me if I knew there was a fire truck in the back lane. I was a little confused at his question as I did not hear a siren that close. I mean, there had been sirens all day, but nothing stopped on the street. Some sirens seemed close, but that was normal.
Of course I jumped up, and went outside and around the back of the house. I got in the back lane and a few of the neighbours were there. Apparently my dumpster was on fire. The neighbours called 911 to report the fire. They were told a truck would be right there, as it was just around the corner. Sure enough the fire truck drove into the lane, no siren, no lights, and stopped off at my dumpster to put out the flames.
That would explain why I didn't hear the sirens in the back lane. There were none. I did hear the siren for the fire truck when it stopped around the corner, but that would not have been close enough for me to be alarmed in any way, or for me to bother looking out the window or go down the street to see what was up.
I am feeling a little silly that I was at home and did not know my dumpster was on fire. And I did not notice a fire truck in the back lane.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sanitizing - Or Not - Of 5400 Autobins

As you may know, I wanted to know if the dumpsters in my back lane, and the back lanes of the North End ever get cleaned out or sanitized. I had been told by someone that they are cleaned and it is in the contract with Waste Management to do the cleaning.
Well, I did get an answer by way of e-mail regarding the cleaning of the 5400 Autobins in the City of Winnipeg. Apparently very few of them have been cleaned. Apparently the large majority of the Autobins in the City of Winnipeg do not warrant cleaning as they are not dirty. Apparently the only ones that are really dirty and in need of a cleaning are the ones that have dead animals in them.
Hello xxx
The AutoBins are sanitized when requested by a resident or when we we have removed something particularily odiferous (like an animal). There has never been a schedule to sanitize all 5400 bins and the vast majority have never been cleaned as they don't smell.

We really enjoy your blog as we share many of the same feelings about AutoBins that you do.

Keep up the good work!

Darryl Drohomerski
Manager of Solid Waste Services

I think I am going to invite Darryl to my back lane next July. It will have to be on garbage day, so the dumpster is empty, or at least empty of the items that are not glued to the bottom of the dumpster. I personally have been in my back lane after the dumpsters have been empty, and I have smelled the dumpsters when they have been empty. I would not describe any of the empty dumpsters in my back lane as "they don't smell".
Do you remember the photo I took of the scrapper who dove head first into the dumpster? The photo shows feet sticking out of a dumpsters. Look at the bottom of the dumpster ....... Look at the feet sticking out of the dumpster ....... Disgusting rotting gunk stuck to the dumpster ..... Head very close to the disgusting gunk ..... Eewww !!!
Ok, on a lighter note, I found an art installation while checking the back lane today. Check this out. I sent a request to have it taken care of by 311. Which department do you think will take care of this one? Will they send it to the Art Gallery?

What Department Takes Care Of Mattesses Left Abandoned?

What happens to all the mattresses and couches left in the streets and alleys of the North End, and other areas of Winnipeg? This was a question I asked myself as I drove down the streets of the North End in the past few years.
In June of this year I called 311 when I saw the garbage truck stop at the dumpster behind my house, look at it, and drive on. It was the second or third week in a row that the dumpster did not get emptied. I called 311 and told them of my dissatisfaction with the service I was receiving. I demanded they take care of it, and they have a supervisor follow the garbage trucks to ensure they are actually doing the job they have been contracted to do. While I was on the phone with the 311 person, I also mentioned the couches and mattresses that sit in the back lanes. This is when I was told I could call and have them picked up. I was told it was free in the North End of Winnipeg. The reason given was because these items are set on fire if they are not picked up. I would never have known that this service was available if I had not called 311 and mentioned it. I also mentioned that a lot of these bulk items are deposited by people from outside the area. She said that was a different issue, that was an issue of illegal dumping and would be directed to the City By-Laws department.
So, if I have a mattress I want to get rid of, I can call 311 and have it picked up for free, because I live in the North End. Otherwise, I could drive it to the Brady Landfill site and pay to deposit it there.
If the mattress was dumped illegally, I could report it as an illegal dumping, include as much information as I have regarding the illegal dumping, and have the By-Laws department investigate the illegal dumping before the garbage gets removed.
And last week I found out about another department. There is a mattress resting on the front boulevard of my street in front of a house. It has been there for a week now. I reported the mattress to 311 and I was told that it is being forwarded to the Public Works Department. On the evening of October 14 I was told it would be investigated within one business day and the issue would be completed within 4 business days.
So, I guess it depends where the mattress is, and how it arrives at its location, for which department gets involved with the removal of said mattress. All I know is that it is a mattress out of place.
I received a comment today from RM regarding a box spring and mattress in the West End of Winnipeg.
West End, same deal. I have a box spring and mattress in the lane behind my house too. Calls to 311 start with "There is a charge to pick up..." and end with, "5 business days..." which often turn into never.

From what I know, if you did not place the items in your back lane, contact 311 and report an illegal dumping. Provide what information you know regarding the items, how long they have been there, who put them there, if you know, and any other information you may have. That changes the issue from "can you pick up my old fridge" to "there is a fire hazzard that has been dropped mysteriously in my back lane, please investigate it".