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Washington Voices

Weather causing delays for trash pickup

Garbage trucks getting stuck on snowy, icy roads

The winter weather has caused some problems for Spokane Valley and unincorporated Spokane County residents who have been putting out their trash on the appointed days only to have it not be picked up. Waste Management, which provides service in the Valley area, is trying its best to keep up, said municipal relations manager Ken Gimpel.

Garbage trucks weren’t able to get into some areas during the worst of the snowy weather even after being chained up, he said.

“We have pockets up north where (roads) were only plowed once or have never been plowed,” he said. Even if one street is in good shape, bad roads on other areas of a driver’s route could delay them enough that it doesn’t get done on the normal day. A lot of trucks have been getting stuck lately and that often requires drivers to wait hours for a tow truck, Gimpel said.

People who don’t have their trash picked up often try to call Waste Management to complain, but the regional call center has been frequently overloaded lately. “I know they’ve been having heavy call volume,” he said.

So what should people do when their trash isn’t picked up? Residents can call customer service to report being missed at (877) 466-4668 or (509) 924-9400. What might be a better option is to visit to make the report and avoid a possibly lengthy phone wait. The website also lists areas where weather is causing delays.

Gimpel asks that people leave their trash at the curb if it is missed. Crews will pick it up as soon as possible after a missed pickup report is made and often crews know which areas trucks didn’t get to and are out trying to make pickups even before reports are made.

“We’re running additional trucks,” Gimpel said. “We’re even running some four-wheel drive pickups out. We’re doing what we can. We just ask people to be patient. We’re throwing everything we have at it.”