Yesterday, a ride through a west side neighborhood of Palatine looked less like a idyllic white picket fence suburb and more like a water-logged garage sale. On every lawn. Wednesday is garbage day for the residents west of Palatine Road in the northwest suburb. And Palatine, like neighbors Arlington Heights and Barrington were faced with flash floodiing after last Friday's storm. Des Plaines also was hit hard, but the town is along the river and is more prepared for flooding. Palatine is not and the piles and piles of garbage that lined neighborhood streets confirmed the town's damage.
As the news crews and mainstream media moved on from the flooding story, we went and followed a few garbage trucks on their Wednesday morning routes. The area is serviced by the private waste collection agency, Groot Industries Inc. The trucks are manned by one lone driver. With the advent of front loader garbage trucks, more than one man teams are uneccesary. But in these conditions, the extra garbage makes a day's work...a day's work. WBEZ's Meghan Power took some photos of the personal items being thrown away on this somber trash day:
A shift supervisor for Groot told me that they had to double the amount of trucks servicing the Northwest Suburbs for this week's trash pick-up. In Arlington Heights alone, 53 trucks were used to collect trash from the flooding, compared to the usual 12-15. Trash days were extended and in some cases took multiple days in the same area. The routes became slower because of trucks at capacity, thanks to rolls and rolls of carpet and several bulky pieces of furniture. In this case, I watched a driver deal with one pile, which included a couch:
The trucks load up and take their garbage to the Glenview Transfer Station for the Solid Waster Agency of Northern Cook County. We followed some of the trucks to the location. I talked to Steve Schilling, the acting executive director at SWANCC, about the extra work. He also gave us a quick tour of the garbage facility to show how much volume was coming in. He said they were working double time, due to "heavy garbage."
When it is all said and done, the garbage will be taken to a landfill in Rockford, the final resting place for personal items lost from the floods of 2011.