Inauguration Day: Crews prepare to clean up after the masses in DC
- While today's wide-ranging inaugural occasion has temporarily suspended operations in Washington, D.C.'s local government, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will be playing a key role. The team will have a hand in everything from sanitizing the parade route where President Donald Trump will take his victory lap this afternoon, to cleaning up after supporters and protesters alike throughout the weekend.
- After Trump is sworn in as the country's 45th president and the National Mall begins to clear out this evening, DPW crews will begin the overnight task of putting it all back in order. DPW has allocated approximately 360 employees, 30 dump trucks, 16 packer trucks, 5 sweepers, 12 pick-ups, 2 flusher trucks, 4 blowers, manual rakes, brooms and shovels for the job.
- DC DPW will also be providing dump trucks as security barriers in strategic locations throughout the city. The department has historically served this security function and sanitation agencies in other cities such as New York have also begun doing the same in the wake of vehicular terrorist attacks in Europe last year.
Potential attendance figures for Trump's inauguration have been estimated at around 800,000 people though with reports of many protesters in the city, the amount of people generating waste could be larger. After President Obama's first inauguration in 2009, which attracted 1.8 million people, DPW crews and National Park Service workers collected at least 130 tons of waste. The fact that trash cans had been removed for security reasons was cited as one factor though whenever large crowds of people get together some amount of littering is inevitable.
"We're sanitizing routes, we're making sure that we make our trucks available where need be for security, and after the balls and the parades we're making sure that we put the city back in order from a health and cleanliness perspective," DPW Director Christopher Shorter told Waste Dive in a recent interview.
DPW performs these duties every four years, but with hundreds of thousands of people expected to participate in the Women's March on Jan. 21 this year could be a little different. The department confirmed that it will be working to sanitize the march route in the same way as the parade route. With dozens of marches planned in other cities public works and sanitation crews will also be busy throughout the country this weekend.
- DC.Gov Presidential Inauguration
Follow Cole Rosengren on Twitter