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Busy spring debris collection continues, Republic Services catching up

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BATON ROUGE - Over the last month, 2 On Your Side has been taking a lot of calls about missed woody waste service. The City-Parish says it's been taking those calls, too.

According to the City-Parish, missed woody waste collection is up, but it's still a small percentage compared to the number of pick-ups. Over the last three months, 311 reports have increased. There were 868 reports made in April 2017 and 1,850 in April 2018.

There's also about an eight percent increase in the amount of debris picked up by the boom trucks over the last year, which also increases the number of trips trucks make to the landfill.

Republic Services have 130,000 garbage pickup points in the parish each week and admits it's behind. It tells 2 On Your Side that some years are worse than others and this is one of those years. It says a combination of demolition debris and winter freezes caused the volume for boom trucks to go up by 15%.

Karla Swacker, Municipal Services Manager for Republic Services says it's addressing missed service calls as soon as possible.

"If there was a record made of the call and it was dispatched, to should have been investigated and picked up," she said.

Last month, 2 On Your Side met Shirley Strickland. She tripped over a pile of woody waste stacked at the curb and broke her leg. Before she tripped, Strickland had been proactive and made multiple phone calls to have the debris picked up. She says she was unable to get answers.

"They never respond," said Strickland.

At that time, Republic Services told WBRZ the pile Strickland tripped over should have already been picked up, as her call was logged days prior. Tuesday, Republic admitted there was a problem with the debris pile.

"It was determined it was a non-compliant pile," she said.

The pile was collected by Republic Services the same day the story aired.

A non-compliant debris pile can include a number of issues: debris that's too heavy, too long, located under a tree or power lines, or debris that does qualify as woody waste. Sometimes the debris is located at an address that's not eligible for the service.

Republic Services says the 130,000 households that receive trash collection in East Baton Rouge Parish pay $13.45 a month for all garbage services. Swacker says boom truck collection is not broken down specifically from that amount but $5.40 of that goes toward collecting all items that don't fit inside the garbage cart.

Republic Services says it's almost caught up from the spring, but May numbers are expected to be similar to April's.

If you have a missed debris collection in East Baton Rouge Parish, call 311 to make a report.

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