Update on Refuse and Recycling Service Disruptions and Front Line Staff COVID-19 Reports

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 13, 2020) Due to personnel issues involving COVID-19, employee quarantine and other injuries, there have been some disruptions in city services most notably recycling collection in some East End neighborhoods as some essential staff have been unable to work.  

Last week, several neighborhoods reported missed recycling and refuse collection due to limited staffing. The Department of Public Works’ Environmental Services asks all residents whose recycling or refuse hasn’t been collected to leave it at the curb where it is usually picked up until our crews are able to pick it up. Residents are asked to review the refuse and recycling rules and regulations and tips for keeping our Environmental Services workers safe

Since the increase in the number of residents staying at home starting in March, the amount of refuse and recycling has expanded creating a much greater workload for environmental services workers. In April, environmental services reported an increase of 506.9 tons of solid waste (8,522.56 tons total) and 40.08 tons of recycling (1,280.04 tons total) compared to April 2019. 

“We appreciate our residents’ patience as we prioritize the health and safety of our front line workers,” Mayor William Peduto said. “Our staff in Environmental Services and Public Safety are constantly out working in the field and are more vulnerable to exposure to the coronavirus and potential injury. We will continue to take precautions for their safety on the job to avoid the spread of illness to other staff or the public.”  

Environmental Services reports:  
2 employees off of work as confirmed COVID-19 cases 
5 employees off of work from heat-related health issues or illness  
15 employees off with other injuries  

In addition, the Department of Public Safety reports the following number of confirmed cases in each bureau: 
Police has 7 employees off as confirmed cases 
Fire has 5 employees off as confirmed cases 
Emergency Medical Services has 2 employees off as confirmed cases 

Both the Department of Pubic Works and Public Safety will continue to utilize employee screenings at the beginning of shifts and work safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Allegheny County Health Department and City of Pittsburgh Emergency Management Agency.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office