Are St. Petersburg special trash pickups back since Hurricane Ian?

The City Council chairperson was told pickups are happening, but there’s a backlog of 500 requests.
A view of the overflow debris management site at Maximo Park in St. Petersburg on Oct. 19.
A view of the overflow debris management site at Maximo Park in St. Petersburg on Oct. 19. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Nov. 21, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG — A call to the city’s hotline to arrange a special pickup for items like furniture, carpet, appliances, empty fuel tanks, car batteries and tires brings a recorded message.

“Special collections are still currently suspended as we finish the cleanup of vegetation from the curb due to Hurricane Ian,” it says.

The city now says that message is outdated, and special pickups resumed Nov. 8.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida on Sept. 28, sparing St. Petersburg. The following week, the city began picking up vegetative debris. A city official said “100%” of debris was picked up in the city’s “first sweep” after the hurricane, which wrapped up two days before the arrival of Tropical Storm Nicole earlier this month.

The city sent out an email to customers through its service center Oct. 17 that said special pickup of nonstorm debris would be on hold for two weeks as the city focused on storm debris.

But it’s unclear when special pickups, which the city generally does free of charge, resumed. The city charges $20.96 per cubic yard for large quantities of accumulated waste, building materials and brush.

City Council chairperson Gina Driscoll said the city’s community and neighborhood affairs administrator who oversees sanitation, former council member Amy Foster, told her that special collections are happening, but there is a backlog of 500 requests.

“We have been in Midtown since Nov. 3 and are still working in that neighborhood there is so much,” Foster texted Driscoll on Thursday.

In a statement Friday, a city spokesperson said special pickup for trash and yard waste is operational and ongoing. City sanitation crews are currently responding to all requests through the city’s SeeClickFix app and website and working through the customer log in the order of receipt.

“For a short period of time during Hurricane Ian recovery efforts, some sanitation crews were reassigned temporarily to assist with debris removal throughout the city, and with the vast majority now completed, those crews have resumed prioritizing Special Pickup requests,” wrote spokesperson Erica Riggins in an email.

Riggins said residents in need of special assistance with bulk items should call 727-893-7398 or submit a report in SeeClickFix for pickup.