Equipment failure slows city clean up crews

Lawton_Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of Lawton's city-wide spring clean up, but sanitation crews say it's going to take them another week. They're only halfway through town because they say this is one of the biggest clean-ups they've had; and with manpower shortages, equipment failure and plain confusion, they just won't be able to make that deadline.

They had the regular city trucks sweep through town once and pick up everything they could by hand, and left behind the big stuff. But then when the big trucks started breaking down on that second sweep, they had to consolidate crews. So fewer trucks and less manpower has really slowed them down.

City council changed the rules for the spring clean-up season, making it so crews will only sweep the city once. That way you won't put out your trash behind them after they've already come by. But with city trucks picking up small items, and then larger trucks coming by for the bulkier things, people have gotten confused, thinking they can keep putting more things out. But the crews aren't picking up more small things like small boxes, only the large bulk like tree limbs that they left behind during the first sweep. "We will continue to go through the city, and we'll get to it eventually," said Solid Waste Superintendent Jayson Powell. "But it really depends on what manpower we have, and what equipment we have that are able to work."

But it's not just trucks on the street. The equipment out at the landfill has been failing too, and by law they have to cover trash with dirt as soon as its dropped off; making it so the whole system is slowed down that much more, which leaves trash on your lawn longer. "We just try to explain to them, you know, that we're working through the city as fast as we can," Powell said. "This clean up has been larger than the previous clean up... And due to the amount of equipment that we have out operating, just too small of an amount."

To try and speed things up, they're running extra crews on Wednesdays and Saturdays when they can spare the manpower. But they're just asking for your patience for a little while longer. "Anything west of Sheridan Road, we're almost complete with all of that, so we're still heading east," he said.

If you don't want to wait any longer, you can always take your stuff to the landfill. It's open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to all Lawton residents. And don't forget this Saturday you should also drop off your dangerous items, including batteries, old tires, paints, chemicals, and any appliances with freon. Those items should never be thrown away in your everyday trash. You can take them to MacMahon Auditorium this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.