Tulsa Trash Pick-Up May Go Once A Week Before New Carts Arrive

Friday, June 15th 2012, 6:26 pm
By: Emory Bryan

There could soon be trouble with Tulsa's trash service, because there's no agreement on who will handle pick-up in two weeks.

It's likely going to mean that trash will be picked up once a week without the large carts the city has on order.

It's also likely curbside recycling will be suspended until the trash board can figure out how to handle a deadline that's been on the horizon for 30 years.

City Councilor Chair GT Bynum cannot believe there's not a firm plan to pick up the trash after July 1.

"Just kind of amazed this has been allowed to come down to the last minute," said Bynum.

The contract with the current trash hauler, TRI, is about to end and the new contractor won't start until October 1.

The trash board hasn't lined up someone to fill the gap, and now it has to be done with emergency no-bid contracts and there's little time to inform the public about a sudden change.

City crews will be asked to do some of the work, with private haulers doing the rest.

"We couldn't do it all, but there are enough haulers in town it can get picked up. There are no worries there," said the city's Sanitation Manager, Eric Lee.

Lee says while the trash will be picked up, everything else about the service is up in the air.

"I think whether it's once a week or twice a week, changing the collection days to provide contiguous routes to provide more efficiency, as well as suspending recycling for a period of time until the new carts come in-- we don't want to leave anything off the table," Lee said.

The situation that's been created by the trash board is a frustration to the politicians, who get blamed for the actions of a largely independent authority.

Council chair Bynum said about the only thing the council can do it is cut rates to reflect the lesser service.

"We're going to do everything within our power to make the best of the bad situation," said Bynum.