Des Moines Residents and Garbage Collection Struggle With Massive Amount of Snow

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DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s becoming more and more difficult to find a place to put all the snow.

It’s filling up front yards, driveways, and spilling into the streets, which means the place where you used to park your trash bin is now non-existent.

“If the trash can is not full we just wait until next week, then we struggle with finding a place to put it on the curb and piling it on top of the snow bank,” Des Moines resident Phyllis Smith said.

For the community of Beaverdale, Monday is trash day. For most, they rolled their trash cans to the curb this morning only to struggle to find a place to put it.

“I actually went — that shovel sitting over there — I went and bought it because I really didn’t have anything to scoop it and throw it out of the way,” AJ Rich said. “That’s kind of what I’m doing this afternoon is make room for it.”

Just take a stroll around a metro neighborhood and you’ll see it, trash can after trash can knocked over, stuck on top of feet high snow mounds, or out in the street.

“Right now I can’t even get to mine because there is so much snow,” Kathy Grove-Ott said.

While residents tackle the task of taking out the trash, so do public works crews.

“Some of the struggles that we see is a lot of toters being knocked over. We deal with that, and that’s just because of uneven terrain,” Tyrone Anderson, Solid Waste Section Chief for Des Moines Public Works, said.

Des Moines Public Works says the ideal scenario for picking up trash in the snow is having residents dig out a spot for their trash cans, with at least three feet of room for the truck to grab it. But with this much snow currently on the ground, they realize that’s not always an option.

“If it’s too snow-packed from the plows, stuff like that, you just want to put it, maybe if you can, get it on top of the snow,” Anderson said.

They say that with their new rail trucks they got a few years back, they can reach up to 12 feet, making some of the trickiest of spots now feasible.

“Just put them where you can, the best you can,” senior refuse collector Curt Harter said. “With these new rail trucks, we can pick them out of the snow and carry on our way.”

But these collectors say there is always one major issue in the winter no new truck or equipment can fix.

“Our main concern is the parked cars that are out here plowed in,” Harter said.

Des Moines police say within the last 24 hours, they have issued over a thousand parking citations and are starting to impound cars that are not being moved. Those cars now plowed in on the sides of the streets are hurting plows and garbage collection from doing their jobs.

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