Mayor Bloomberg today announced changes to refuse collections to ensure Department of Sanitation crews continue to provide 24 hour a day cleanup services to Staten Island, south Queens and southern Brooklyn to clean up storm debris. The continued redeployment of personnel to meet storm cleanup needs will result in reduced refuse collection services in areas of the City that were not, or only slightly, impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Areas normally receiving three times a week collection may only receive two collections per week, while areas that receive two times per week collection may only receive one collection while the emergency debris removal work continues. The heavily-impacted areas will continue to receive collection and debris removal around the clock. This morning, Mayor Bloomberg visited Sanitation Workers at the Edgemere Queens East 14 Garage in Rockaway to discuss their cleanup efforts.
“I’ve been visiting the parts of our city hit hardest by the storm – here in the Rockaways, and in Coney Island, and the South Shore of Staten Island and one thing I hear in all those places is the need for debris removal and the incredible work the Department of Sanitation is doing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Today we are announcing that we will reduce garbage collections going forward in areas not heavily impacted by the storm to allow us to keep our resources in the neighborhoods that need it most.”
In addition, the Department will not be collecting curbside recycling, until further notice. Department of Sanitation enforcement agents will not be writing violations for refuse left at curbside throughout the city during this emergency operation.
Residents of priority areas should separate appliances, perishable garbage and general debris to expedite clean-up operations. To help prevent future flooding issues, residents should also keep debris away from storm drains.
Sanitation crews are currently working 12-hour shifts – 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM – and since the storm more than 55,000 tons of refuse and debris has been collected. A total of 728 pieces of sanitation equipment are dedicated to storm debris removal citywide including 270 collection trucks, 234 mechanical brooms, 114 front end loaders and 110 cut down dump trucks.
This past weekend, Sanitation worker Michael Lewery was injured by a downed electric wire while clearing debris on Staten Island. He is currently in the hospital and in stable condition. Lewery’s own home in Staten Island was badly damaged in the storm.