Photo Credit: CHAPublic Works / Twitter
Published February 25, 2021
Chattanooga, TN – Since the onset of the Pandemic, the accumulation of litter has become a significant problem in the Scenic City but things are starting to look hopeful due to the revitalized efforts of the Chattanooga Department of Public Works.
During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 23rd District 4 Council Member Darrin Ledford said, “This past weekend, City crews were out picking up litter in their specialized trucks and people were very excited, they were on social media.”
“I think with the weather coming and COVID releasing its grip on us, we’re able to get back out there,” Ledford said.
Chattanooga City Engineer, William Payne, had previously sent a communication to Ledford allowing him to warn people to back up their vehicles to make room for the trucks.
“They had to back up quite a bit on Jenkins and Igou Gap,” Ledford said.
Ledford thanked Public Works for listening to the Council and taking their words to heart.
“I just wanted to thank the City Public Works Department openly, keep up the great work and we appreciate it out in District 4 and all over the City in general,” Ledford said.
City Engineer Payne stated that Public Works has tried to keep the Council Member apprised of the current situation since the issues were first raised to them.
“Earlier this afternoon, I know we sent out another update. I think in the last two weeks, there have been 690 bags of litter collected and about 68 tons of total litter collected…and that’s across the City,” Payne said.
District 2 Council Member Jerry Mitchell thanked District 6 Council Member Carol Berz for being a catalyst in getting litter pickup efforts invigorated.
Mitchell addressed Payne, “I can see right before my very eyes your organization becoming more organized about this and please, as you did for Councilman Ledford, when you know you are going to be in a District or an area of a District, give prior notice to the Council person (of that District).”
Mitchell expressed that letting people know that significant litter pickup efforts are going to take place in their area would improve the effectiveness of the pickup.
“We can hopefully, as a community, get behind your efforts and stay out of your way as much as possible,” Mitchell said.
Payne stated that the Department of Public Works in continuing to do their best and that the efforts are supported primarily by their own resources.
“We’re still very, very limited in the support coming from the court system right now. We’re hopeful that will improve and they’ll be able to support us better and we won’t have to pull from as many other sections as we are now,” Payne said.
The manual collection has been a long-standing practice in conjunction with the Hamilton County Court System where community service assignments have been made by the courts.
In December, Payne stated that “It’s our understanding that TDOT similarly contracts with the Hamilton County Courts for their community service crews as well. So in some cases, we may be competing for similar resources.”
He also stated, at that time, that COVID-19 has had an effect on litter pickup as well, because “there have been fewer people assigned for community service by the court system so that has decreased the availability of those crews.”