Southern Brooklyn

Sanitation Response To Garbage Complaints


Remember back in the beginning of August, when we issued the first edition of “Garbage Gazette”? We urged you to contact local leaders and file complaints directly with the Department of Sanitation.

Well, at least one reader, Philip R., listened. And it took nearly two months, but he got a response from Henry Ehrhardt, the director of Customer Relations. We sent a complaint before posting, but haven’t yet received a response. Not sure what that’s about, but here’s Ehrhardt’s letter to Philip, which was CC’d to the commissioner and several local Sanitation overseers:

Dear Mr. R.:

I am writing in response to your E-mail message to Commissioner John Doherty regarding unsanitary conditions in the Sheepshead Bay area of Brooklyn.

The Department makes every effort to keep New York City clean for all New Yorkers. However, current economic conditions have had an impact on the City’s adopted budget. Litter basket collection is a priority, and in spite of a painful $80 million budget reduction in FY 2010, we have devoted all available resources to servicing baskets in high-density, heavily trafficked areas as often as possible. In an attempt to service the area to the best degree possible, Deputy Chief Ricci from our Brooklyn South Borough Office reported that additional litter baskets were added to Sheepshead Bay Road. These baskets are currently serviced seven (7) times a week. Deputy Chief Ricci also reported that he attempted to contact you several times, but you were not available.

Overflowing litter baskets are often the result of improper use of litter baskets. Many people put commercial and household refuse in and alongside the litter baskets. The result is even less accessibility for the people for whom these baskets were intended in the first place – pedestrians. We are enforcing the law against this abuse, which should help to reduce its incidence. District and Enforcement personnel will continue to monitor the area.

Thank you for writing.

Henry Ehrhardt, Director, Customer Relations
Division of Customer Service and Government Relations
Department of Sanitation
TC (E1084T) (10-1436)

cc: J. Doherty, Commissioner
J. Montgomery, Borough Chief, Brooklyn South
M. Ricci, Deputy Chief, Brooklyn South
F. Tuzzolino, District Superintendent, BS-15

Comment policy


  1. Sounds like a template letter to me. I’m amazed that they didn’t make more use of it and send copies to all of us who complained about Sheepshead Bay Road, Avenue U, and Brighton Beach Avenue.

  2. Pretty much! Just look at the number of Village Voice articles that criticize the Bloomberg administrations for the number of corrupt managers and wasteful spending of funds.

  3. I refuse to believe they’re picking up garbage 7 days a week. I see overflowing pails and mounds of garbage every day at the Sheepshead Bay Station. I saw a woman with a baby carriage trip over a huge pile of garbage yesterday that sent everything scattering all over the sidewalk outside the Station.

  4. you gotto understand that its not sanitations fault for not picking up the garbage. its people throring away too much. ya see, if people only threw away a little, the lack of garbage collection wouldnt be a problem!

    also lack of jobs in the area is only due to too many people wanting to work, not the fact that there is no money left in the system. if we all would just not WANT to work, it would even out ya see.

  5. While there is some abuse of people putting household and commercial garbage in the litter baskets, that is the exception not the rule and to blame uit on that is unfair. If you look inside most of these baskets at least along Brighton Beach Avenue, it is mostly cups, wrappers, newspapers, and other stuff people walking along the street are carrying. It’s not household garbage. Don’t believe anything the City tells you.

    In 1972, I worked as a summer intern for city EPA, (now DEP). Then people were complaining that there were not enough litter baskets on the street. The company line was that they were being stolen. I didn’t believe that and talked them into letting me do an investigation. We found all the hundreds of missing baskets! They were rusting in the back of Sanitation District offices. Some were there for over three years. They weren’t on the streets because they werre never put out! They were never stolen, and the City just kept buying more. Apparently putting out the baskets was the Department’s lowest priority and they just never got around to it.


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