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Further Adventures in Trash

Celia Pretter's attempt to help neighbors and clean up her Mt. Airy block failed due to city regulations. In a recent column, I wrote about her renting a U-Haul, taking the trash to the Northwest Sanitation Convenience Center only to be turned away for using a commercial vehicle.

When I asked the Streets Department deputy commissioner what vehicle would have been allowed, he said her personal car, which happens to be a Subaru Outback with limited space. Meanwhile, Pretter told me she saw plenty of trucks drive onto the space with trash. All of them looked like they were being used for commercial purposes.

How readers responded to Pretter's tale of trash and woe! One reader wrote that many commercial trucks have removable magnetic signage, so their owners can drive onto sites designated for personal use.

Pretter also told me that no one asked for ID that proved her city residency, which the website states is required. She also saw a truck with Jersey plates drive into the center.

Another reader shared this tale:

"My wife got her replacement non-driver identification card Friday, July 8. 2011.

She went to the Arch Street location armed with her expired passport, SEPTA pass, Medicare card, credit card bills, and the checkbook with our address.

Our civil servants asked for NO identification. She said she could have told them she is Tinker Bell, and she lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and no one would have blinked.

She also added that the civil servants were very rude and seemed intent on torturing their customers. Since my wife lipped them back, they passed her along to get at their fellow uneducated citizens.

The day after my wife got her replacement Pennsylvania non-driver identification card without providing any identification, my grandson and I got thrown out of the city dump for impersonating New Jersey residents.

I had just picked up an Avis car with New Jersey plates to leave at the airport when I flew out on Sunday. So my wife would not have to mess with it during the week, my grandson and I loaded up some garbage and recycles and drove to the Convenience Center on 63rd Street near Passyunk. A civil servant stopped us at the gate and told us we could not drive onto the dump site. I said I have a Pennsylvania license with a Philadelphia address. She said that did not matter. Cars with New Jersey plates are no longer allowed on the dump site. She nicely added that we could park on the street and carry our garbage onto the dump.

I declined.

That is correct. Without any identification, you can get a Pennsylvania ID that will allow you into an airport and onto a plane, but you can not drive onto a city dump without Pennsylvania license plates.

Please do not print my name. I am afraid TSA will arrest us for attempting to break into a city dump."

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--Karen Heller