ST. LOUIS – As overflowing trash in St. Louis is causing citizens’ frustration to boil over, FOX 2 went straight to the source with a question in mind: where are all the trash trucks?
“It’s been almost a month since we’ve had a trash pickup,” said Mark Bozif, Tower Grove East resident.
When talking with Bozif, people driving by were also yelling in frustration. One of those people was Corey Mingo, who then walked over to speak with us.
“This trash has been sitting here and nothing has been done,” he said.
Bozif said his neighbors have to keep their trash in their houses because there’s nowhere to dispose of it.
Since residents can’t get answers, we went straight to the city’s refuse garage on Central Industrial Drive near Vandeventer Avenue.
A FOX 2 news crew arrived at 3 p.m., a time when we thought most trucks would be out. Instead, we found a ghost town in the parking lot. We counted about 40 trash trucks – a nearly full lot. It was the inverse over at the employee parking lot, which was nearly empty.
Many of the trucks looked as if they hadn’t moved in a while. One was even half-filled with garbage. Another one had a broken and dragging bumper and taillight bracket. When opening the cab of one truck, it appeared as if it was too full of debris to climb inside, but then we found a “daily truck report” tag that was it was last out Friday 6-17-22. No other activity was listed on the card.
After 30 minutes on the city lot, we began to see some movement. One truck left at about 3:30 p.m. and about eight vehicles returned.
Drivers told us they weren’t sure where the supervisors or mechanics were. They also didn’t know who we needed to talk with. We then heard over the loudspeaker, “All mechanics to the foreman’s office! All mechanics!”
Our news crew went to the foreman’s office, where we found a few people walking around and more broken-down trucks. We did not, however, see anyone working on any of them. One of the trucks had a message written in dust on the windshield that read, “For sale – $1.”
At about 3:40 p.m., we could finally hear someone who we thought might answer our questions. Instead, she asked us to leave. She would only identify herself as a city employee.
“I can’t allow you to be in the building because it’s unsafe,” she said.
She escorted the news crew off the property. At no point did she answer any of our questions about the number of trucks that are broken down or an employee shortage. The woman would not say if anyone of authority was at the location or who might explain why we didn’t see many people working.
FOX 2 is following up with aldermen, who have previously shared their frustration about trash pick-up.
Mark Bozif offered a suggestion for city leaders.
“We have all this COVID (relief) money we don’t know what to do with? Here you go,” he said, motioning to the overflowing trash in his alley.