St. Louis trash truck shortage has garbage piling up

ST. LOUIS, MO — Garbage is piling up in St. Louis alleyways because the city faces a trash truck shortage. Nearly half of this city's fleet of 84 garbage trucks are out of service. The city has 55 trash routes a day but is running 40 to 45 trucks daily.

The problem stems from years of budget challenges and new trash trucks not making the final cut when city leaders approved annual spending.

This is a previous report from FOX 2's Vic Faust from May 2018:

Trash pick-up in some St. Louis neighborhoods has occasionally fallen behind schedule due to limited trucks. We investigated one particular complaint in the Tower Grove area. The garbage containers were fine, but the recyclables and yard waste containers were pretty well packed.

“A little bit lately; but it’s springtime. Everybody's cleaning up stuff,” said resident Chris Barton. “People are getting rid of stuff all at one time.”

The city does have an issue. They lack operable trash trucks for drivers. Crews are often working later than usual and picking up trash on weekends when trucks are open.

“To address this issue in the short-term, we expanded the hours of our operation to a 16-hour workday Monday through Friday - essentially one shift using the operable trucks in the morning, and the second shift using the same trucks during the afternoons and evenings,” said Koran Addo, a spokesperson for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

This will allow the city to split the demand for trucks between two shifts rather than one. They will keep this schedule until mid-July, when crews resume normal operations.

Addo said the city keeps several dozen tracks trucks, but they’re 20 years old on average.

“Only 29 of them were running this winter,” he said. “The recent $3 per month increase for trash collection is being used to purchase new trucks at a cost of $250,000 each. Using these funds, we anticipate being able to resolve our fleet problems over the next three years.”

Barton said if one dumpster is closed, residents still have an option.

“They can go to the next dumpster. It’s a little more walk, but some people don’t do that. It’s just, ‘Well, it’s full,’ and (they) toss it on the ground,” he said.