City of Covington Recycling

Suspended Indefinitely Beginning Next Week

From Coastal Environmental Services:

Good Afternoon Mayor Mark,

The recent surge in Covid cases has brought a negative impact on many communities across the area. We have seen a rise in the number of cases right here at CES. We currently have Drivers, Helpers and members of our Administrative Staff that have either tested positive or have been in contact with a close family member that has tested positive for Covid. Either way they are now quarantined and unable to work. This has left us very short of Drivers and Helpers daily. Certainly not enough to cover all routes. Therefore, effective Monday August 16th, we will be suspending Recycling Service indefinitely until this surge passes or when we can get Drivers and Helpers healthy again to return to work. Being able to suspend recycling service allows us to move our assets around to make sure we get all garbage collected on the scheduled days for service.

There will also be a delay with the collection of green waste. We are having to shift the Drivers for Boom Trucks over to Residential Garbage Trucks. However, we will run our Boom truck as often as we possibly can, but it will be based on Driver availability.

As such, we will have one pickup day for all cans (Wednesdays)

City of Covington Public Works

Severely Short-Staffed

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Our Public Works Department consists of 48 people. They are responsible for maintaining our roads, roadsides, ditches and drainage, safe drinking water and proper disposal of our wastewater (both getting it to the plant and then treatment). They are the unsung heroes of our community.

Due to the current labor shortage in general, we currently have 12 positions vacant (28%). Two of those individuals recently left for better jobs. One enjoys a 30% increase in pay and no longer needs to maintain certifications. (Ten vacancies in yellow, Two departed for greener pastures, a red slash).

Eleven employees are out due to being Covid positive or close contact (red squares). Actual headcounts vary on a day-to-day basis.

Sidenote #1: The sewer department currently consists of one person. The streets department consists of zero. Certain times this week there were no commercially licensed drivers (CDLs) trained to operate certain trucks. We have the trucks ... but we do not always have the drivers to drive them.

With this in mind, please be mindful of our current challenges in cutting grass, cleaning ditches, sewer line repairs, water line repairs, street repairs and / or projects of any kind.

Sidenote #2: Big Thanks to the City Council for recently enacting a $2,000 per person per year raise. Pay increases are the number one contributor to decreasing job vacancies.

Sidenote #3: Big Thanks to St. Tammany Parish and Parish President Mike Cooper. Through our Mutual Aid Agreement, the Parish provided us a CDL certified driver and vacuum truck. With this help, we were able to prevent an overflow at a malfunctioning lift station.

Sidenote #4: The City has 68 sewer lift stations. Each one combines mechanical pumps and electronics operating in a toxic environment. Inevitably they break. Maintaining and upgrading these stations shall remain a top priority. Not glamorous, but very important.

St. Tammany Parish Health System's

Covid 19 Updates

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St. Tammany Health System provides regular email updates about the COVID situation locally. To be placed on the e-list, email with "COVID Update for Neighbors" in the subject line.

I find this to be a useful primary source of information regarding our local infections. MMJ

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