Bags of cut grass and leftover fall leaves wait along Omaha curbs, as the city's garbage company struggles to keep up with citywide demand in the first week of yard waste pickup.
Yard waste collector Deffenbaugh Industries has brought in six additional trucks and crews from its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., as one of several efforts to reduce delays, according to Mayor Jim Suttle's office.
Yard waste pickup begins on the first Monday of April, though this warm spring has let people get into yardwork a lot sooner.
Crews have added workers. Collections start as early as 6 a.m. Garbage truck crews are picking up yard waste after completing their own runs.
The goal is to finish this first week of yard waste collection by the end of Saturday. All Deffenbaugh trucks that day will collect yard waste, effectively doubling the fleet, a press release said.
“We're committed to getting this yard waste caught up, and we're committed to having a routine spring and summer for our customers,” said company spokesman Tom Coffman.
The City of Omaha contracts with Deffenbaugh for waste removal. The Mayor's Office has received an average of 40 calls a day since Monday about the delay, which the company and city blame on an unseasonably warm March and larger- and earlier-than-expected amounts of yard waste. Garbage and recycling pickup have remained on schedule, according to the release.
“You'd think with the weather being warmer they'd be able to put it in high gear,” said Millard Heights resident Mary Lee Miller, one of about 130,000 Omahans served by Deffenbaugh.
Pickup day for Miller is Friday. Her yard waste collection — three bags — pales in comparison to her neighbor's nine. Miller hopes the bags are gone by Saturday but said she would understand if she has to wait.
Some visitors to The World-Herald's Facebook page wonder whether pickups couldn't have started sooner, and others said they're getting used to delays.
But Aksarben neighborhood resident Eileen Slane said she's thankful that her yard waste has been picked up, though she didn't notice when.
“I think it's a terrible job (yard waste pickup),” she said. “But overall, they do a great job.”
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