Residents will be able to schedule bulk trash pickups through 311 and will be given an estimated pickup time, limiting items being left on curbs for undetermined periods of time.

The Chattanooga Department of Public Works will transition bulk trash collection services to a service request system, moving away from a rotating calendar schedule that required residents to place bulk trash curbside in accordance with a rotating zoned schedule. The collection system led to bulk items being left on curbs for prolonged periods of time. Under the new system residents can contact 311 to schedule a pickup.

Under the previous system, drivers would provide service to a given area for only a week at a time and wouldn’t be scheduled to revisit that area for another month. The process led to bulk items being left on curbs for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. Under the changes, residents can call 311, email [email protected], or use the 311 app to request a pickup for bulk items and will be given an estimated timeframe for pickup. 

The operational changes will eliminate the need for residents to plan pickups around a predetermined schedule and reduce the time for bulk items to sit curbside before being collected, with the goal of items being picked up within eight business days of the request being made.

“Forcing residents to rely on an online schedule to have their trash picked up was a major inconvenience for them – and we received complaints that long periods without service was not good for neighborhoods,” said Ross Pitcairn, administrator for the Department of Public Works. “These adjustments will improve services in every neighborhood in Chattanooga and make for a much more efficient process for our employees.”

Brush pickup services will still be provided using a zoned method, but drivers will service each zone continuously, not on a rotating basis as they had under the previous system.

The new service model will begin on April 1, 2024 and will be applied to this year’s leaf pickup service, which begins on November 1, 2024.