Now Flint, Michigan Has A Trash Problem On Top Of Its Persistent Water Crisis

Flint, Michigan hasn’t yet recovered from the dangerous water pollution that caught the nation’s attention, but now the city has another problem — garbage. Flint suspended its trash pickup services indefinitely Monday as the mayor and city council try to come to an agreement about which company the city should contract. The last garbage contract expired Friday, and without a decision on who to go with, there’s no one to pick up Flint’s roughly 100,000 people’s garbage.

Nine people are currently facing charges for allegedly attempting to cover up the water crisis, and the state filed a civil suit against two companies it claims knew about the pollution. The problem began in 2014 when the city started sourcing water from the Flint River without treating it to make sure it didn’t corrode the pipes. It was soon discovered that the water had E. coli, total coliform bacteria, and later high levels of lead and total trihalomethanes (TTHM), leading Flint to be found in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act.

Still relying on bottled water to avoid all the grossness in the city’s water source, the people of Flint now have to hoard their garbage in their homes until trash pickups resume, and no one knows when that will be.

A press release from the city released Monday asked residents to not put their trash on the curb. “We hope to have a new agreement in place that will allow crews to resume trash collection by the middle of the week,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in the press release. “We realize this is an inconvenience and we’re working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, we appreciate and thank the citizens of Flint for their cooperation.”

Mayor Weaver suggested the city contract Rizzo Environmental Services in June, but the city council struck her down, wanting to renew the old contract with Republic Services, which had a bid $2 million higher, according to MLive. Weaver vetoed their decision, claiming Republic Services is too expensive and it’s her duty to put forth the “lowest responsible” bid. The city council then overrode her veto, saying it needed more time to research Rizzo Environmental Services before going into business with the company.

All this means the city of Flint doesn’t have a contract with a garbage company, leaving residents to sit in their own trash until god knows when. If this only lasts a few days, it won’t be a huge deal, but if it persists, there will be a lot of smelly garbage piling up.