Fewer people happy with Dayton’s waste collection

Dayton waste collection crews at work in the city. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Dayton waste collection crews at work in the city. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A growing number of Dayton residents are unhappy with waste collection services, according to a citywide survey, which city public works officials said stems from issues with missed pickups, staff turnover and container shortages.

“We heard it loud and clear in the Dayton survey that we need to improve some service deliveries,” said Fred Stovall, Dayton’s director of public works.

A waste collection worker throws trash into the back of trash truck. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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A waste collection worker throws trash into the back of trash truck. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

About 15.5% of Dayton residents who responded to the survey this year said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the city’s waste collection services.

That’s up more than 3 percentage points from 2019 and 6 percentage points from 2018.

About 61.4% of survey respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with trash and recycling services, which is a 7 percentage point decrease from the last survey conducted in 2019.

Additionally, the city this year has received about 11,750 complaints about trash services — a sizable increase from 2019.

Dayton waste collection crews at work in the city. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Caption
Dayton waste collection crews at work in the city. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Stovall said public works staff will take a close look at the data to try to figure out what’s going on. His department hopes to make some changes to the trash and recycling routes in the first quarter of 2022 to improve efficiencies, he said.

Some customer complaints are about missed pickups, Stovall said, which sometimes happens when there are substitute drivers on routes. A new mapping system should help address some complaints, he said.

The city earlier this year also dealt with a trash container shortage and backlog that frustrated some customers.

The waste collection division saw high turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to staffing challenges to complete routes on schedule, Stovall said.

Stovall said all trash and recycling collection routes are being reviewed, and some route changes will occur in April.

Waste collection cancelled biweekly bulk collection service during the pandemic because of staffing issues, he said.

That service will resume next year between May and August, which hopefully will reduce trash in alleyways and reduce illegal dumping, Stovall said.

Satisfaction with waste collection services also likely took a hit because of the new “oops” program, which issues warnings to customers whose recycling containers are contaminated with trash, Stovall said.

Recycling containers contaminated with trash aren’t emptied by recycling collection crews, and some people who repeatedly had trash in their blue containers had their service terminated for a year.

More than 3,100 customers received an initial oops warning. About 3% of those customers had their service suspended because they had three violations.

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