O’FALLON PARK — The rest of the city is starting to experience a truth that north side residents have known for years—the City of St. Louis does a horrible job keeping its alleys clean.
The Post-Dispatch and local TV news stations have been running stories recently about south side residents dealing with overflowing dumpsters and the rodents that the resulting mess attracts.
“Trash overload leaves people furious in south St. Louis,” a July 13 headline on KSDK’s website read.
“Welcome to the club,” said one north side resident. “We been dealing with this mess for years. No one seems to care.”
Illegal dumping, long a problem in north side neighborhoods, has become more prevalent in south St. Louis as well. The result is a stinky situation that lowers the quality of life for city residents.
The Post reported that on any given day, nearly half of the city’s fleet of 84 garbage trucks are out of service.
“To address this issue in the short-term, we expanded the hours of our operation to a 16-hour workday Monday through Friday – essentially one shift using the operable trucks in the morning, and the second shift using the same trucks during the afternoons and evenings,” a spokesperson for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson told reporters last month. But the situation has not improved.
On July 16, we drove down the alley between the 4200 blocks of Red Bud and Harris Avenues. The conditions were horrific. Trash everywhere. Overflowing dumpsters. Dozens and dozens of old tires piled up behind vacant, city-owned buildings. Over a month later, we drove down that alley again. Everything was still there.
Presumably, city trash trucks drive down this alley every week. And every week the city does nothing about the piles of tires, furniture, trash, and debris that sits on and behind LRA houses that it owns. The situation is frustrating to north side residents who have seen the city raise fees on trash collection twice in recent years, with no improvement to service.
The city has installed cameras in a few alleys to catch illegal dumpers. The cameras are solar powered, triggered by motion, and catching people who come to north side alleys to dump their garbage.
“It happens all the time,” Anita Brown, a north city resident, recently told Fox 2 News.
Brown said she’s tried catching people dumping but to no avail.
“I don’t ever see nobody. I’ve looked, but you see trucks go pass, you peep, you watch, but they see you and they don’t do nothing,” she said.
Until no one’s looking; then the trash piles up. She’s convinced the dumpers aren’t from around here.
“They come to this area and dump,” Brown said. “It’s not the neighbors.”
And she’s right. According to Fox 2, court records show 83 percent of those convicted of illegal dumping this year are from out of town.
Illegal dumpers convicted in city court are paying a $500 fine and working 40 hours community service by picking up trash.
You can report illegal dumping by calling the Citizens’ Service Bureau at 314-622-4800 or via Twitter @stlcsb. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org