Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Following call to WBRZ, homeowner gets large trash pile picked up after nearly a month

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BATON ROUGE - The sight of a blue Republic garbage truck pulling up to her home Tuesday was welcome news to Amy Giarrusso after nearly a month of dealing with pickup problems.

Hours before, a dozen black trash bags sat outside of Giarrusso's home. The bags made up a fraction of the pile she placed outside weeks ago.

"We've been having a problem for four weeks with garbage being picked up," Giarrusso said. "Our regular trash can [is] being picked up, but the hand piles are being missed every week."

At its height, Giarrusso says the pile included roughly 40 bags with household items.

Day after day, they sat there.

"I've had friends come over and help me haul some of them off to their dumpsters," Giarrusso said. "I hauled off some of them to my sister's dumpster she has at her office, and then we paid to have two of those very large 'bagster' dumpsters hauled off. Some of it was construction debris, which we knew we were going to pay to haul off, but the regular household goods we expected the city to pick up."

After her home flooded last month, Giarrusso paid to have her construction debris from inside hauled off May 27, but these bags remained.

On June 8, she filed her first report with 311. The next day she got a response saying the hand pile would be picked up on "the next service day." Five days later, the bags still sat untouched, so she put in another request June 14.

Without any action, Giarrusso started reaching out to her councilman, Dwight Hudson, too.

"This is incredibly frustrating," Giarrusso said. "Not only are we dealing with flooding, dealing with the costs, the stress of that, but to have this out in your yard."

Following another call to Hudson's office Tuesday, an inspector visited the pile while Giarrusso was at work. That inspector snapped pictures pointing out some construction debris in bags and buckets.

In their report, the inspector wrote, "found [a] large pile of bags with construction debris, talked to men working on site, and explained the rules, gave them [a] green card for homeowner responsible for debris removal."

That green card left for Giarrusso, detailing the inspection, included a note: "debris removal is the responsibility of the homeowner."

When WBRZ arrived at Giarrusso's home Tuesday afternoon, all that was left were a dozen or so bags. Giarrusso says a neighbor making a haul himself earlier helped pick up some of her pile, including the items the city would not pick up.

Included in those bags were household goods, like notebooks, bowls, and other items. According to the city parish, "household garbage" will be collected, but only "resident-generated waste will be picked up."

After telling officials she called WBRZ, Giarrusso was promised the remaining bags would be picked up Tuesday. A news crew was there as Republic pulled up before 5 p.m.

In a phone call, a spokesman for the city-parish told WBRZ that the hand pile of bags should have been picked up. However, he cited the pieces of construction debris mixed in as the reason they were never taken from Giarruso's curb.

We found a large pile of trash bags that included a lot of construction debris, as you’ll see from the report that we sent you. We also saw contractors on site remodeling the home. For that reason, the pile had not been picked up previously. I see that the construction debris was hauled away by someone else, and when garbage services came by this afternoon, they picked up the remaining pile that was just household trash. The reason the original pile was not collected was because we determined there was a large amount of construction debris from the contractor in the pile, and there was a contractor on site who was responsible for hauling away the construction debris.

Before this instance, Giarrusso says she has never had a problem with getting her trash piles picked up in the 13 years she's lived at her home on Beachwood Avenue. Nonetheless, she's glad to see the garbage gone.

For details on the city-parish's garbage collection, click here.


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