Tucked away behind the trees, up a steep hill in Germantown, lies a tiny block called Wingohocking Heights. Residents call it their little piece of the country. With only four homes on the block, it’s quiet here. But it’s a little too quiet on Thursdays—trash day. Sanitation workers have missed this block’s trash pick up at least six times in the last three months.
It’s so bad that Kristen Hyman say she’s given up on calling 3-1-1 to report the problem. “It’s been problematic for a long time,” Hyman says, “it feels like we’re the block that gets forgotten by the city.”
Her neighbor, Alan Chestnut, doesn’t get it either. He’s lived here for over 25 years and he’s never had trash pickup problems like this. “Now, the recycle truck comes up here every week,” Chestnut says, “but the trash truck doesn’t come up here.”It’s true that the block’s easy to miss. And Chestnut admits, it’s tough to get a clunky sanitation truck up his block. “The normal routine is that the driver backs up here ’cause he can’t turn around once he gets up here,” he says. “He picks up the trash and he drives down.”
Chestnut calls 3-1-1 every time the sanitation truck skips their street. Deputy Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams explains what comes next. “The moment we find out they’re missed we send a crew out
immediately to try to pick it up,” Williams says.
But neighbors say it usually takes the whole weekend for the trash to be collected. That’s what really gets to Chestnut’s wife, Regina McIntosh-Chestnut. “The animals usually tear it up and it’s a big mess then I have to, you know, go out there and clean it up,” she says. “It’s just, it’s a pain.”
Her husband has found a way to deal with the pests – coyote urine. “I went on the internet ,” he says. “I punched in ‘coyote urine’ and it was right there, a guy sellin’ it. And I sprinkle it around the trash and they don’t come near it.”
Regina McIntosh-Chestnut is not convinced. “It works to a certain degree,” she says, laughing.
While it’s creative, coyote urine is definitely not a long-term solution. So what’s going on? Deputy Commissioner Williams says the crew chief in the area was not doing his job of making sure trash is collected on every block on the route.”We want to apologize to those residents,” he says. “They pay their taxes, they expect good service. Unfortunately, on a number of occasions, that wasn’t occurring. We expect our guys to do a better job than that. There’s no excuse why it was missed. Going forward we’ll check.”
Williams says the Streets Department misses less than two tenths of one percent of garbage pickups. As for Wingohocking Heights, Williams says he’s spoken to both the crew chief and the district manager to make sure this block isn’t missed again. We’ll be watching, along with the neighbors, to make sure this problem has been fixed.
If you are having problems with your trash pickup or any other city services, contact Juliana Reyes, City Howl at email@example.com or 215-854-5855.
It’s Our Money is a joint project of the Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation.