Trash pickup could take longer than normal in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Trash bags and recycling bins might be sitting out on the streets longer than usual because the City of Columbia Solid Waste Utility is still experiencing a staff shortage. 

The staffing agency that had been providing the Solid Waste Utility with temporary employees told the city it could no longer afford to do so.

Patricia Weisenfelder, spokesperson for Columbia Utilities, said, the city is prioritizing residential trash collection before recycling due to health reasons. 

She said the city is exploring other options with temp agencies.

"The Solid Waste Utility can pull from other non-collection workers, as well, so that will add to the collection crew available," Weisenfelder said.

Weisenfelder said the Solid Waste Utility does not know how long the staff shortage will last.

Columbia resident Zvonko Dzinovic said the problem needs to get resolved soon. 

"I definitely would love the trash out of my yard, so it doesn't stink up the place and the neighborhood," he said. 

Weisenfelder said Solid Waste Utility is asking residents to put their trash and recycling out on the curb like normal. 

"If there is a delay longer than a day, it will only be for curbside recycling collection," she said. 

Dzinovic said the people in charge need to "figure something out."

"We can't have trash all over our streets and neighborhoods unfortunately," he said. 

The city is pushing its notification app, which gives it the ability to directly update people on when their trash will be picked up. 

"Residents who have subscribed to receive updates and stuff can get notifications directly sent to them whichever way they decide they want it," Weisenfelder said. 

She said, right now, it is a waiting game while the city explores its options. 

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