Wednesday, September 4, 2013--5:55p.m.
MADISON--This summer the City of Madison started a mattress recycling program. They've already collected more than a thousand, but when you take-in that many mattresses there's always the possibility that some of them have bed bugs.
"There were hundreds and hundreds of mattresses that we had to deal with," said George Dreckmann, strategic initiatives coordinator. "Huge pile of mattresses during the student move out."
And thanks to a logistical problem with a vendor, they've now got a backlog of a few hundred waiting to ship to the recycler in Watertown.
"You have this big pile here and things aren't turning over and that's what we don't want to see," described Dreckmann.
The concern is bed bugs.
About a week ago a worker reported being bitten by bed bugs. Dreckmann said that's the only incident they're aware of. But it can be hard to tell if they're there. "You know it's hard, there's no indications," he said. "I mean everything I've read, all the stuff I know said.....they're going to hide in the seam."
They're hoping to have all of the mattresses cleared out within the next two to three weeks, but as they're waiting, they don't want bugs spreading. "That's what we don't want," he said. "When they're here there's all that possibility, you know, for it....to spread from one mattress to 10."
Dreckman said in general, you have to be in close contact with a bed bug-infested item to catch them. He said it's unusual to be bitten when just picking up a mattress. We're also told the workers have mechanical equipment to move most of the mattresses and are discouraged from handling them. However, Dreckmann said with the current situation they're having to handle them more than they usually would. Again, they're hoping to finish off that backlog within the next two to three weeks.