With refuse from the Northridge earthquake still piling up after nine months, the city has extended its Earthquake Debris Removal Program to Jan. 17, 1995, the one-year anniversary of the devastating temblor.
While crews will be collecting the trash until mid-January, calls requesting pickups must be made to the program's hot line--(800) 498-CITY--by Dec. 30.
The free collection program was slated to end Sept. 30, but many whose homes were damaged are just now receiving insurance payments and hiring contractors to perform the cleanup, program spokeswoman Janet Ervin said.
In other cases, overloaded contractors are just now beginning jobs requested months ago. Just as much debris is being left curbside now as in the weeks after the quake--more in some San Fernando Valley communities.
"We're still getting about 500 calls a day," Ervin said.
As the rainy season approaches, the city is asking that piles of debris be placed one foot from the curb so as not to impede storm runoff. That debris, though, must be related to the quake or it won't be picked up. "Some people get carried away in cleaning out their garages," Ervin said. "They see this as free garbage removal."
Residents are asked to separate the refuse into piles of wood, concrete, stucco and other materials to simplify recycling.
So far, the city has spent $48 million to pick up over 1 million tons of curbside debris and another $21 million to dispose of it, Ervin said.
She said that it takes an average of seven working days after a pickup call is placed before crews arrive to perform the work.