Douglasville's Maintenance and Sanitation Department is returning to its normal pick up times this week after missing trash pickup for two days due to last week's snow storm.
The department made up for the MLK holiday Monday by doing double-duty on Tuesday, but road conditions prohibited trash pickup Wednesday and Thursday.
"There's just no way that we would be able to get everything covered, unfortunately," Douglasville Maintenance and Sanitation Director Greg Roberts said. "We certainly want to provide impeccable services to all of our residences and our businesses and everybody in Douglasville, but unfortunately we have these events that come along from time-to-time and it gives us a little setback for a few days."
Although the department wasn't working three out of four days last week, Roberts said that missing an entire week is rare. The way the department recovers is by treating closures due to storms the same way holidays are treated.
Roberts said Wednesday and Thursday pickups missed last week will be picked up this Wednesday and Thursday on their regular schedule.
The most recent winter storm differs from the storm in early December because the last storm carried on through the weekend and most services operated at the normal schedule the following Monday, according to Roberts.
"Then we had rising temperatures the next day after the event," Roberts said of the December storm that dumped 10 inches of snow on the county. "This event is different because it comes in on a Tuesday. It shuts school down. Temperatures plummeted below freezing until midday Thursday."
The difference in temperatures after the snowfall is crucial for the road workers, Roberts said.
"It's those plummeting temperatures and when we have these wintery weather events, everything has to do with the temperature," Roberts said. "So if the temperature plummets and stays below freezing, the routine remains constant. What happens is that when we put the salt mix on portions of the roadway, it makes it drivable for a while, but then when nightfall comes, it freezes. So it's almost if we didn't treat it at all."
In addition to the storms, Roberts said a handful of Maintenance and Sanitation employees have the flu. Employees missing work due to illness have affected the department too because like in every industry, every person counts, Roberts said.
"We have great people, we serve the public, we serve the citizens, we serve the city and that's our No. 1 goal, but we also want to be safe and keep our people well," Roberts said. "As I always tell the guys around here, 'two hours of sunlight can do more than we can do in two weeks.' "