Snohomish County ‘Litter Wranglers’ prepare for third year of road cleanup effort

Litter Wranglers respond to resident calls and emails by working the roadsides and collecting the trash in areas with excessive litter. (Photo courtesy Snohomish County Public Works)

Snohomish County Public Works is preparing for its third year of the Clean Sweep Litter Program, bringing in the Litter Wranglers clean up crew to remove litter along the sides of many roads this summer.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said the program was developed in response to the litter concerns the county has received from residents.

“Our Litter Wranglers are deployed to fix a widespread problem — roadside trash,” he said. “The Litter Wranglers will travel hundreds of miles again this year to help us preserve our county’s natural beauty.”

During the first two years of the program, the Litter Wranglers have been responsible for collecting 10,554 bags of litter and cleaning more than 1,052 miles of Snohomish County roads.

The Clean Sweep Litter Program has been a collaborative effort with Snohomish County residents. Calls and emails from the public reporting litter sites contributed to the Litter Wranglers’ success and ability to clean more than 600 road miles last year — an increase of 25 percent from 2017. The crew uses the reports to plan their week and group site visits.

Snohomish County Public Works Director Steve Thomsen said he hopes the program will continue to grow and public works encourages the continued partnership with the community.

“The ability to map out locations is key to the program’s efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

The crew has been able to get a site cleaned within a week of the report from the public during the 2018 season. Snohomish County residents can participate in the program by continuing to report areas with excessive litter.

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Snohomish County Solid Waste Director Matt Zybas said the Litter Wranglers have exceeded his expectations each year.

“Their ability to get out and clean up a site before Public Works’ maintenance crews arrive allows them to stay on road maintenance tasks,” he said. “This helps to make everything run smoother and saves time and money.”

The county-employed six-member crew is trained on how to safely deal with litter while working along the side of the road next to traffic. Residents may see the Litter Wranglers between 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday throughout the county. County officials remind drivers to be aware and cautious while driving through construction and road maintenance zones this summer.

Residents can also participate in picking up litter by joining the county’s Adopt-A-Road program, which is a partnership between volunteers and Snohomish County Public Works to keep roadsides free of litter. To sign-up, for the program call the program coordinator at 425-388-3137.

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