L-R, Tony Webb, Lynn Arthur and Jeff Donnel
BY JOYCE NANETTE JOHNSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG –The City of St. Petersburg Sanitation Department’s trademark beige trucks are known to navigate down the streets and alleyways picking up trash in curbside containers and alley dumpsters with gigantic metal-like claws. It is an enormous undertaking with drivers servicing 31 residential routes per workday averaging about 1,200 homes per route.
There are several divisions under the sanitation department that include residential, commercial, recycling and the environment. There are a total of 180 staff members that service 80,000 household accounts and 6,000 commercial accounts.
“We work hard every day to keep our city clean and safe,” said Jeff Donnel, manager of Recycling Support.
The department removes trash, collects recyclable material, clears city-owned lots and parks and keeps debris from blocking fire, police and emergency vehicles. These services are provided to homes, businesses, parks, high-traffic areas “and to all the special events that make living in St. Petersburg so great.”
Residents can contact the sanitation department to pick up old furniture, household appliances that can include televisions, washers and dryers, mattresses and even tires and batteries. There are no additional fees because the cost of residential sanitation is already included in your monthly city utility bill.
There are many other services that the sanitation department performs, including the removal of graffiti and snipe signage, the operation and maintaining of free mulch program, recycling drop-off centers, five brush sites and chemical and hazardous material drop off site.
Director of Sanitation, Benjamin Shirley
Some of the lesser-known free services include rodent control, dead animal pick up and cleaning debris from alleyways, said Assistant Director of Sanitation Lynn Arthur.
A-24-year veteran of the department, Arthur is proud of the work that they do because sometimes unattended debris can become a safety issue.
Director of Sanitation, Benjamin Shirley has been with the department for 45 years and feels that if the community would personally address some issues it would help to elevate their community and environment.
One of the issues he discussed is absentee landlords that are only interested in collecting rent and do not have a vested interest in the upkeep of the property. Shirley is an advocate of the neighborhood associations, where many of the meetings have community police officers and code enforcement agents on hand.
“Years ago we had neighborhood cleanups and we provide free containers,” said Shirley.
Tony Webb has been with the department since 2006, and rose through the ranks to become sanitation inspector, II. His job takes him into direct contact with the people of the city.
“I’m a liaison between the city and the folks of St. Pete,” Webb stated.
He’s trying to get the word out that while we are in hurricane season there are additional free collections of debris that can be collected after a storm within a certain time frame.
“The sanitation department is here for the people of St. Pete, just call.”
Residents can contact the sanitation department at (727) 893-7398 to arrange for any of these services or to have any sanitation/recycling questions answered.