Justin Ketchum, right, lifts a trash bag full of leaves while Bob Wells, left, tosses a bag into the rear loader Thursday morning. The end of the fall season is especially strenuous for the City of Craig Sanitation Department crew because of the heavy bags of damp leaves.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Justin Ketchum, right, lifts a trash bag full of leaves while Bob Wells, left, tosses a bag into the rear loader Thursday morning. The end of the fall season is especially strenuous for the City of Craig Sanitation Department crew because of the heavy bags of damp leaves.

Communities at work: Winter creates tough pickup

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Bob Wells operates the compactor in the back of the rear loading trash truck Thursday morning. The bags of leaves popped like grapes when the machine squeezed the air out them. Wells said he would rather hear the bags of leaves pop than glass bottles, which sometimes explode onto whoever is operating the compressor.

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Justin Ketchum hoists a heavy bag of leaves into the back of the trash truck Thursday morning. Ketchum has worked for the sanitation department for four years and enjoys listening to heavy metal music on his iPod while he works.

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Bob Wells carefully drives the city of Craig trash truck Thursday morning around a corner on School Street. Wells has worked for the Sanitation Department for 19 years.

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Jay Harris operates the automated refuse truck to pick up 90- and 300-gallon trash cans Thursday morning. On average, one automatic side-loader will bring 10 to 14 tons of household trash to the dump.

Early winter is normally a tough time of year for those who work at the Craig Sanitation Department.

As the leaves fall, trash cans fill, and city crews are tasked with disposing of the nearly 20 tons of trash local residents produce daily, whether there be snow, sleet, rain or shine.

Sanitation officials ask that residents remember to fill trash cans to the top before placing other bags or boxes around the outside of the can. Cans may be picked up by an automated side-loader, but the extra trash surrounding it must be collected by hand.

Also, residents should leave a 2- to 3-foot empty parameter around trash cans so the machine can easily pick it up without the driver having to clear the area.

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