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DPW Says Many Quarantined Trash Services Workers Will Return To Work On Wednesday

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  The Baltimore City Department of Public Works’ top official said Tuesday that stalled trash pickup services will soon improve as 112 employees return to work, after the agency suspended operations at a facility with cases of COVID-19 earlier this month.

“We understand and share residents’ frustrations,” Acting Director Martthew Garbark said during a news conference. “We did the right thing by quarantining workers to protect their families, their coworkers and everyone else.”

DPW suspended operations at its Eastside Sanitation Yard earlier this month, after a significant number of new cases of COVID-19 arose at the facility. 

The agency also suspended recycling services about three weeks ago. Since then, Garbark said, trash tonnage is up by more than 20 percent, as many residents add materials that may be recycled to mixed refuse collection.

Garback said the agency expects to return to as close to normal trash collection as possible in the upcoming week. 

“I don't want to give a specific timeline because of just the fluctuation in operations,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get most of the East Side operation up and running this week, if not tomorrow.” 

Residents can call 311 to report missed trash collections. 


Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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