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Trying to Catch Up : Trucks From Across L.A. to Be Deployed to Help Pick Up Trash After Delays Caused by Safety Inspections in Wake of Fatal Crash

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Trash trucks from around the city are expected to converge today and Sunday on the San Fernando Valley, which missed a pickup after Wednesday’s mid-city accident that claimed the lives of two boys.

The delays occurred when the city decided to inspect trash trucks similar to the one whose mechanical rod malfunctioned and rammed a school bus.

Trash pickup in much of the city is already back on schedule. Some areas, such as South-Central Los Angeles, are expected to be on schedule by today. In the Valley, normal schedules are expected to resume by Monday. Trucks that pick up recyclables are not affected by the inspections.

As of Friday, 134 trucks had been released and put back into service. Two hundred are still being inspected and repaired, said Gyl Elliott, public information director for the city’s Bureau of Sanitation.

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“Unfortunately, East and West Valley have the most of those vehicles, so they were heavily affected by this,” Elliott said.

Del Biagi, director of the Bureau of Sanitation, said inspectors from the truck manufacturer have pulled 25 to 30 vehicles off the road in the Valley to strengthen some weaknesses in the trucks’ design. Each improvement requires a truck to be taken to the manufacturer’s headquarters in Ontario.

Because of the delay, Biagi said, the city will have to operate the remaining trucks and the Lopez Canyon Landfill near Lake View Terrace throughout the weekend.

City officials, noting that the average person generates seven pounds of garbage a day, encouraged residents to recycle to save space in their trash cans.

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Given the reason for the move to a holiday-like schedule, some West Hills residents said they could easily handle the inconvenience.

"[The accident] is a bad thing to happen,” said David Woods, 21. “I don’t think anybody should complain about the trash pickup being late.”

Woods’ neighbor, Richard Gillespie, 73, might have reason to worry, though, if the pickups are delayed too long.

“I’ve got an awful lot of trash,” he said, explaining that a home improvement project has filled his cans to the brim.

Still, Gillespie’s wife, Virginia, said she wants to make it clear that safety is paramount in their minds. “If it’s necessary to do, it’s necessary to do,” she said.


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