Rantz: Garbage truck terrorizing Seattle neighborhood at 5:20 a.m.
Recology Waste Zero is terrorizing a Seattle residential neighborhood with exceptionally early pick-ups, waking up residents and their pets with a cacophony of alleyway-recycling. Now, after we contacted them, it appears they are ready to listen to neighborhood complaints.
By Tommy’s count, the Recology truck comes to his Lower Queen Anne neighborhood two or four times a week, usually before 5:30 a.m., loudly emptying dumpsters, with the truck’s loud beep over and over and over again as it backs up out of the alleyway. It’s become a nuisance.
“We’ve been getting bombarded with trash trucks,” Tommy explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It wasn’t just trash trucks coming and going. It was four times a week, three times a morning, and super, super early, too. They start around 5:20 a.m.”
Living in Seattle, Tommy, a local barber, expects there will be noise. But this noise is exceptionally early.
“While I’m complaining about being woken up in the morning, these guys are already awake and doing their job,” concedes Tommy. “I understand that the city is big, that they have to get the trash in and out when there’s no traffic. But it’s the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in the world.”
The impact has taken its toll. Tommy, who lives with his girlfriend, has tried to change their schedules to accommodate the trash pick-ups, but it’s not working for them.
“When bottles are smashing and trucks are flooring their engines and beeping and dropping dumpsters, you tend to wake up pretty aggravated and pretty frustrated,” Tommy explained. “You can hear the dogs in other apartments barking. Probably the first word I say every morning is a swear word. We’ve tried to wake up and go to the gym early and combat it with that, but we’d have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to not be woken up by these trash trucks, so it’s been pretty difficult honestly.”
Seattle’s Noise Ordinance is supposed to address the early morning racket. If the neighborhood is residentially zoned, contractors can only service the area between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tommy’s apartment, however, is a commercially-zoned area. That means, according to Seattle Public Utilities, “the solid waste contractor is able to service their customers throughout the day and night.”
Tommy isn’t asking for much. He just wants reasonable action from Recology.
“I just think that maybe doing it one or two days a week… it’s just the fact that it’s so early in the morning is the biggest issue,” he said.
It would appear Recology is ready to act. A representative said they’d look into the pick-up after I sent over video Tommy took of an early-morning trash pick-up last week.
“We looked into it and determined that this is a commercially zoned area, which is why we were there prior to 7 a.m.,” Quinn Apuzzo, Recology’s Government and Community Relations Manager, emailed the Jason Rantz Show. “That being said, we do our best to accommodate areas that have a mix of commercial and residential properties and will be moving this stop to later in the day to accommodate residents who may be impacted by the noise of early morning collection.”
I had numerous follow-ups, but Apuzzo didn’t respond to my follow-up requests.
Though unlikely to become a major issue of the upcoming Seattle City Council election, it is something that impacts the district, particularly Lower Queen Anne and Downtown Seattle. Council candidate Andrew Lewis told me he hears about this complaint all the time.
“Yes, as a resident of Uptown I frequently hear, and am even wakened early in the morning by, garbage collection services,” Lewis told me. “I have heard complaints from constituents as I go door to door about noise from garbage pickup, as well as from heavy equipment from construction sites which can start up early in the morning as well. I definitely intend to look into whether such early starts are necessary as a member of the Seattle City Council.”
Lewis’ opponent, Jim Pugel, did not return my request for comment.
Already, Tommy noticed a change in the trash pick-up times and noise after the Jason Rantz Show brought this to Recology’s attention. And while the city may not be able to do much, sometimes, just letting the contractor know about the impact they’re having on the neighborhood, you could get an optimal response.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.