City of Birmingham reassures residents trash pickup and public maintenance still priority despite weather and COVID-19 challenges
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Randall announced Friday that the Department of Public Works is still working diligently to serve Birmingham neighborhoods despite challenging weather conditions and health concerns.
The city released the following statement:
“The last few months have been extremely difficult for Birmingham,” Mayor Woodfin said. “Uncontrollable weather conditions such as rain and extreme heat have created several challenges for DPW working to collect household trash and cut overgrown lots. But our crews remain committed. There may be some delays in the day, but we ask the public to remain patient because the work will get done.”
During the month of July, Birmingham received 17 days of rain. The heavy rainfall equated to 8.4 inches, compared to last year’s average of 4.8 inches in July.
“When it is raining, we cannot cut. When areas are too wet after a rain we cannot cut. If they’re slightly wet we can cut, but the moisture makes for a slower process,” said Joshua Yates, director of the Department of Public Works. “Rain also makes the grass grow quicker and hinders our ability to stay on schedule.”
The department is also being challenged by this summer’s extreme heat. “We know how our citizens feel when they try to cut grass or participate in outdoor activities in this heat,” Yates said. “Our workers are facing similar challenges and that is a concern.”Heat not only affects DPW employees, but it also impacts the performance of the department’s machinery, Yates added.
In addition to the weather, a rise in COVID-19 cases has negatively affected much of the department’s staff. Currently, 10 percent of DPW’s workforce have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to a positive individual and are undergoing tracing and testing protocols.
“It is important that our citizens know that despite the challenges, we have a plan in place,” Mayor Woodfin said. “All we ask is that our citizens allow us a little grace during this process as we work to continue to serve the public.’’
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