Holiday garbage piles up in city

Published 7:44 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Getting back in the swing of things following the Christmas holiday weekend is a task.
It's an even bigger job for workers with the City of Atmore's Street &Sanitation Department.
Not only do the workers have to fight the effects of tryptophan from their holiday turkey, but they also have to contend with the city's holiday garbage.
"The amount of Christmas garbage varies," Street &Sanitation Department Superintendent Don Whatley said Tuesday morning. "Usually on a Monday we haul an average of 13 tons of garbage. Yesterday, after the Christmas holiday, we hauled 23 tons and we had two trucks running. A lot of people didn't put their garbage out on Monday because they thought it was a holiday."
In fact, holidays come few and far between for the Street &Sanitation Department.
"The only holiday that we don't pick up garbage is Christmas Day if it falls during the week," Whatley said. "We pick up every holiday. We don't have a change of schedule whatsoever."
Since a lot of Atmore residents were unsure of when garbage pickup was going to resume following Christmas, Whatley suspects Thursday's run on the south side of town, which is also picked up on Mondays, will be more than usual.
"People will probably put stuff out on Thursday too," Whatley said. "They didn't put out their garbage on Monday thinking it was a holiday for us. We'll probably pick up 20 more tons of garbage today (Tuesday)."
The Street &Sanitation Department picks up garbage on the north side of town on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said the hard work and the dedication of the street department doesn't go unnoticed.
"I'm constantly receiving complaints on behalf of the workers that pick up the garbage and keep the streets clean," Shell said. "We appreciate all that they've done for us despite the challenges they've faced this past year. They've done a great job."
Even though the Christmas holiday produces more than 20 tons of additional garbage throughout Atmore, Whatley, who is a 21-year veteran of the Streets &Sanitation Departments, said it's not the biggest holiday for his department.
"Thanksgiving is the most trash producing holiday," he said. "People have a lot of garbage from cooking. Thanksgiving deals us the most misery. Most people won't put their garbage out on Friday because they think it's a holiday for us, so when we pick up on Monday, we have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to deal with. Christmas Day moves around, but Thanksgiving is always on Thursday. It's just according of when Christmas falls to how bad it is for us. It's just the way the cookie crumbles."
Whatley said it's not easy to change routes, so he avoids doing so with other holidays.
"If we change the routes we get messed up," Whatley said. "It's the same route every week. If we start moving routes people get confused and it messes up the whole program."
As for those resident who didn't put out their garbage on Monday, the Street &Sanitation Department will pick it up on Thursday.
"We'll pick up anything they put in a garbage bag as long as it's not hazardous waste," Whatley said. "We will not pick up old batteries or electronics."

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