Trash Pile Up in Fort Smith Due to Lack of Sanitation Equipment


“We have to explain to them we are running behind today,” Administrative Superintendent Serina Tustin said. “We will be there as soon as we can.”

People in Fort Smith say trash pick up in their city is becoming a problem. 

“We have received those customer calls where people are like I just got home from work and its 6 o clock and my trash is still not picked up,” Tustin said. “We have to explain to them we are running behind today. We will be there as soon as we can”

However, the city of Fort Smith says that’s not the case. 

“I think our sanitation department operates well,” Deputy City Administrator of Fort Smith Jeff Dingman said. “It has been confirmed that by looking at our funds we are doing the right things in ensuring the long term care of the landfill facility.”

The root of the problem — over half of the sanitation equipment is past its shelf life. 

“You are putting as much in for repairs on a yearly basis as opposed to just turning around and buying a brand new truck for the same cost,” Tustin said. 

The problem with city trash equipment being outdated is it will take the process even longer to pick up and bring the trash to the fort smith landfill.

“Landfill equipment itself is very expensive,” Dingman said. “Those are 700,000 dollar pieces of equipment. It takes planning to do that and you need the revenues to support that as well. 

Currently, the city of Fort Smith is performing a study on a sanitation replacement plan.

“It is a cost of doing business,” Dingman said. “We have not had a rate increase in the sanitation department in over ten years or more and the resident rate has actually gone down in that time.”

Until this problem is fixed, the Fort Smith landfill will continue to fight this battle. 

“We have to complete our routes by the end of the day because we can’t put off the trash until tomorrow,” Tustin said. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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