Garbage and recycling pickup in the city of Tomah will change significantly next week.
Starting Monday, March 23 residents must place their garbage in their recycling barrels and transport their bagged recycling items to the city shop at 515 East Monowau St.
"Automated recycling will be turned into automated garbage," said city of Tomah public works director Kirk Arity during a Wednesday press conference at Tomah City Hall.
The recycling dropoff will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Arity acknowledged that many residents have already placed recyclables in their recycle barrels.
"If you were scheduled to receive your recycling on the 26th, we want you to put it out tomorrow, if possible," Arity said. "I understand this is short notice."
Arity said garbage will be picked up mechanically the same way recyclables are picked up. The one-per-week schedule of garbage pickup will remain unchanged. Pickup times, however, may vary, and residents are urged to put their garbage to the curb the night before.
If time allows, multiple pickups will occur. Residents with more garbage than the recycle barrel can contain are encouraged to meet the garbage truck with the excess, if possible.
Arity said the switch was made to limit the exposure of sanitation workers to the COVID-19 virus.
"It's intended to limit exposure for our employees," Arity said. "Right now, we physically pick those bags up and put them into garbage trucks."
The city will suspend pickup of large items such as furniture, appliances and televisions.
The new policy has been posted on the department's website, which notes "things can change on a day-to-day basis."
The public works office remains staffed even as Tomah City Hall remains closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Anyone with questions about recycling or garbage pickup can call public works at 608-374-7430.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.
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