Memphis says COVID is slowing down trash collection


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis heat isn’t just making people uncomfortable — for some it’s adding to a smelly trash problem.

Norma Mosley doesn’t want to get too close to the stench but the trash piled up outside her Nutbush house is taller than she is. She said her garbage hasn’t been picked up since June 30.

“I ain’t seen a garbage truck come through here since I don’t know when,” Mosley said.

Throughout her neighborhood off Wells Station it was clear Tuesday that the trash needed to be picked up. Mosley said she’d called 311 “three or four times.”

“We got mice problems and everything else over here,” she said.

That finally changed Tuesday — the city said that is the regular pickup day for Mosley’s neighborhood — but they also acknowledged 311 calls from her location.

In a statement, a city spokesperson said, “the city’s solid waste management is currently experiencing staffing issues related to COVID-19.” And they’re working to ensure missed collections are resolved.

Last week WREG investigated trash troubles in Hickory Hill. Problems have been going on there as well as in Cordova since April.

Those parts of the city are serviced by third-party company Waste Pro.They too have acknowledged they’re behind because of COVID-19. 

Tuesday, the city of Memphis’ chief operating officer spoke to city council members about the on-going problem.

“The good news is, the data is showing the performance is going back into line with areas around the other areas of the city,” Doug McGowen said.

He was hopeful that in the next week, things will be back in line. City Council members will talk about trash issues and their contract with Waste Pro again at their next meeting.

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