Snow- and ice-packed dumpsters overflowing downtown

Published: Feb. 28, 2019 at 7:38 PM CST
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There are growing complaints about overflowing dumpsters in Omaha's Old Market. The narrow alleys there are already hard to maneuver while snow and ice have trash haulers backing off.

Days after it stopped snowing, the trash is piling up in an alley splitting two blocks in the heart of the Old Market.

His office above, Justice Decker can drive through the alley and though ice packed he wonders why trash trucks can’t get close enough to empty dumpsters.

”This is really terrible," Decker said. "Someone should be taking care of this right away.”

A block east, dumpsters for two restaurants and condos are buried by cardboard boxes with garbage mixed in. A bar manager claims the trash pile has been growing for two weeks.

Old market business and condo owners pay for private trash collection. The improvement district Omaha Downtown is telling them haulers are not obligated to empty dumpsters stuck in snow and ice even if the alley looks open.

Old Market businessman Brandon Henery said, “If the trash guys got to get out of the truck and move the dumpsters in the snow then that’s a problem probably, but something has to be done. You just can’t have it sitting there laying around like it is.”

Waste Management spokesman Paul Rowe asks for patience while they monitor when drivers can safely get to dumpsters.

"We regret any inconvenience to our customers for service delays due to recent winter weather events. We are working diligently to recover as quickly as possible. While many of the main roadways are clear and passable, that is not necessarily the case in some alley-ways in the downtown commercial area. We are actively seeking service alternatives and appreciate our customers' patience during these weather events."

The city is not involved in trash collection from old market alleys. However, Omaha weeds and litter has been notified of the overflowing dumpsters and adjacent property owners could get a cleanup order.

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