NOLA outlines its planned response to the city’s garbage crisis

Photo credit City of New Orleans

The city of New Orleans releases a detailed plan to clean up mountains of trash stinking up neighborhoods after Hurricane Ida.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office says it is pushing forward with a “multi-pronged approach to alleviate the trash” building up across the city.

"Solid waste collection was a challenge due largely to workforce issues nationwide that are affecting many sectors,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure Ramsey Green.

According to the mayor’s office, Richard’s Disposal and Metro Services Group resumed limited solid waste collection on Thursday, Sept. 2 in Service Areas 1 (orange) and 2 (green).

Below is a detailed outline of the city’s trash collection plan.

Operation Mardi Gras Clean Sweep – Service Area 2

Given the pervasive solid waste collection issues, the City initiated Operation Mardi Gras Clean Sweep in the Florida Neighborhood on Thursday, Sept. 16. This initiative calls for utilizing heavy equipment (dump trucks, front end loaders, etc.) and laborers to remove bags of trash from the 51 sub zones within Service Area 2. Crews consist of a front end loader, two to three dump trucks and laborers, as well as a New Orleans Police Department escort.

The City’s Mardi Gras clean-up contractors (MDL Enterprises and Ramelli Waste) will provide equipment and labor for five crews to assist in this effort.

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Additional agencies including the Department of Sanitation, Department of Public Works, Parks and Parkways, the Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Orleans Parish Sherriff’s Office, the Regional Transit Authority, Louis Armstrong Airport and the levee authorities will participate in this operation beginning Friday, Sept. 17 with either equipment, labor or a combination of both.

Going forward, up to 10 crews will be operating daily, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and utilizing the River Birch Landfill.

The City is exploring opening an additional transfer station for solid waste in New Orleans East to help expedite the process with a trash collection point within Service Area 2.

More information will be released when/if negotiations are finalized.

An online dashboard will be available on to alert residents of progress in the coming days.

Throughout Operation Mardi Gras Clean Sweep, City sanitation contractors will continue to dump the City-issued 95-gallon trash carts.

IV Waste LLC began supporting Metro Services Group in Service Area 2 with seven trucks on Wednesday, Sept. 15; those resources will continue supporting Tuesday through Saturday routes for the foreseeable future.

Recycling collection remains suspended indefinitely so that all resources can focus on solid waste collection.

Emergency Debris Removal

The City’s emergency debris removal contract was in place prior to Hurricane Ida. Debris contractor Ceres began collections last week of an estimated 200,000 cubic yards (54,000 tons) of vegetative debris that will be picked up via three citywide passes. The debris collection monitoring map is now posted at CleanUp - NOLA Ready. To date, nearly 20,000 cubic yards (4,250 tons) has been retrieved.

Elysian Fields Transfer Station

In response to myriad requests about where residents can drop off solid waste, the City opened the Elysian Fields Transfer Station on Wednesday, Sept. 15 for residents to dispose of bagged household garbage. This service is being provided free of charge between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., seven days per week. Residents may call 311 for questions regarding solid waste collection and debris removal.