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Mayor, city urge patience as recycling problems emerge
McKeesport officials are urging city residents to have patience with their new trash hauler after some homeowners reported their houses were missed, and others expressed confusion over when recycling would be picked up.
The city's contract with its previous trash hauler, Big's Sanitation, expired on Dec. 31, but the new collector, County Hauling of Rostraver Twp., didn't begin service until Jan. 6.
As a result, some residents reported having almost two weeks' worth of trash that needed to be collected.
County Hauling also has not yet released a schedule for recycling collection or explained what items should be put out for recycling. Emails sent by Tube City Almanac to County Hauling spokespersons asking for clarification have not been answered.
"We are going to expect some bumps in the road as we go through this process, especially at the beginning," McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko said Tuesday. "I would ask our residents to bear with us while we do our best to resolve any issues and get these new routes and schedules on track."
Anyone whose trash was not collected by Tuesday night is supposed to get a collection by the end of Wednesday, he said.
Part of the confusion has arisen because trash collection days have changed for many neighborhoods. While trash was previously collected by Big's on Mondays through Fridays in different areas of McKeesport, County Hauling is collecting all of the trash in the city on Mondays and Tuesdays.
A list of which streets will be collected on which days is available at the company's website.
County Hauling began its first pickup in McKeesport on Monday. City officials said trucks were still out collecting trash in some parts of McKeesport on Monday night during the city council meeting.
County Hauling also has begun collecting trash in North Huntingdon Twp. and informed residents there that they can recycle aluminum and steel cans, office paper, newspaper, cardboard and plastics coded 1 or 2.
Cherepko said Monday that although County Hauling has not issued similar guidance to McKeesport residents, the same items are acceptable for recycling in the city.
County Hauling will be picking up recycling every two weeks, Cherepko said, beginning this week. The next recycling pickup is Jan. 20 and 21.
A calendar is available on the city's website (PDF) and is being distributed as part of the In Community magazine.
Cherepko said he is "extremely confident" that the problems will be cleared up and that the city is in "constant communication" with the company.
"I think if we were having this conversation after a few months of service, it would be a different story," he said Tuesday.
The mayor's office said questions and comments may be directed to County Hauling at (724) 929-7694. That number also should be used by residents whose homes were missed this week.
McKeesport residents also may contact the mayor's office at (412) 675-5020, ext. 605, or the public works department at ext. 631.
Jason Togyer is editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published January 08, 2020.