Residents trash garbage service

Say cans are tossed in ditches, left in middle of driveways

March 21, 2014 at 10:46 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Residents across the parish have complained about the service provided by Progressive Waste Solutions. They say their cans are often damaged and trash bins are sometimes tossed into yards and even ditches.
Residents across the parish have complained about the service provided by Progressive Waste Solutions. They say their cans are often damaged and trash bins are sometimes tossed into yards and even ditches.
Progressive Waste Solutions was the target of criticism for nearly 100 residents who recently took to social media to express complaints about the service provided by the St. Charles Parish trash contractor.

Progressive Waste Solutions took over the parish’s trash service after buying out STD Waste and Debris Services, who originally held the contract.

Progressive currently makes 28,000 service calls per week in St. Charles Parish. The Contract Monitor’s Office says they receive an average of 30 official complaints about the trash service per month. However, St. Charles Parish Council members have said that complaints are only recorded by the parish when they are provided to the Contract Monitor’s Office, not if they are made directly to Progressive.

Critics who lodged their complaints via social media said many of Progressive’s employees showed disregard for their trash bins, which has resulted in damage.

Charla Roth, of Luling, said Progressive’s is the worst trash service she has had since moving to St. Charles Parish.

“They are extremely messy, have broken a few garbage cans on our street and don’t move to the side of the street when a line of cars are waiting. This is the worst service of garbage collectors I have had since moving out here eight years ago,” she said.

Amanda Brickhaus Neuman, of Destrehan, said she has experienced numerous problems with her trash service. “The men that are doing our trash over here seem to get more on the street than in the truck,” she said. “I’m constantly cleaning the ditch and roadway. Plus, fixing my can every so often when they decide to break the wheel.”

Although Debi Friloux, of Luling, said she told Progressive her trash can was broken months ago, it has still not been replaced.

“I called about eight months ago and am still waiting for a new trash can. Thank God I’m a patient person,” she said.

Diana Rankin Bye, of Luling, said it took several weeks to have her trash can fixed after being damaged.

“Lost a wheel (and) took them six weeks to send someone to fix it, called three times and finally someone came. Very rough with the cans!” she said.

Councilman Paul Hogan said he recently stepped in to help out one of his constituents who had been waiting on a replacement trash can for half a year.

“I’ve got a lady who has been waiting six months for a can to be repaired. That same lady called me wanting to know what I can do to help her get a can. Once (council members) call it gets fixed, but when the people call (Progressive) ignores them,” he said.

Hogan said not repairing or replacing trash bins is a serious sanitation issue.

“If you don’t repair the bins and if you don’t pick up the trash then it falls in the street,” he said.  

Gus Bordelon, area manager for Progressive, said many of the trash bins in St. Charles Parish are more than 15 years old and are falling apart largely due to age.

“The number of cans that need to be replaced are probably higher in St. Charles Parish because of that than any contract that we currently service,” he said. “Our commitment is to replace them as soon as we possibly can and we work with the parish Contract Monitor’s Office when they are brought to our attention. We do our best to get out there as quickly as we can.”

In response to complaints about people waiting for months to have their trash bin repaired or replaced, Bordelon said a long wait is not typical.

“That’s not the norm, I can assure you. That needs to be addressed on our end and we need to find out exactly where that call is going,” he said.  Complaints about where trash cans are ending up

In addition to allegations of not promptly replacing damaged trash bins, other complaints have included trash service employees leaving the trash bins wherever they fall rather than returning them to where they were placed, as well as leaving trash on the roadway and on private property.

Holly Frickey, of Luling, said she has observed Progressive employees engaging in bad work practices.

“I did witness a few months ago on Barton (Avenue) someone very quickly emptying a trash can and, from the same position directly behind the truck, throwing the whole trash can into the person’s yard. There was still some trash left in it and of course it came flying out. I was shocked,” she said.

Claire Bergeron, of Des Allemands, said her trash bin ends up down the street on a regular basis.

“Mine is always put a good ways away from my home. I’m pretty fed up with it,” she said.

Barry Parker, of Luling, said his trash can is often placed in the middle of his driveway after being emptied.

“I live on Barton and they always block our driveway with the empty can. We have to stop during traffic hours, get out of our car to move it,” he said.

Kevin Cicet, of Luling, said his trash bin is constantly thrown in the ditch after being emptied.

“Mine is always in the ditch and they are even passing it up and not emptying it,” he said.

Judith Hatton Schwalb said trash often ends up in her yard.“They keep dumping the cans and stuff falls out in the street and it lays there until someone cleans it up or it goes into the ditches,” she said. “I have to clean my yard every pick day.”

Chandra Sampey, the parish’s contract monitor, said the parish contract states that all complaints should go directly to Progressive via their hotline at (877) 747-4374.

However, Sampey also encourages parish residents who are having problems with Progressive’s service to contact her office at (985) 331-8604.

“The drivers are responsible for making sure the hoppers are returning the carts to the proper locations. If residents have consecutive days of the same service issues please notify the Public Works Contract Monitor’s Office,” she said.

Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier said residents who are experiencing problems should call their council member as well as the Contract Monitor’s Office.

“We do need to know, otherwise they are calling Progressive and we have no idea,” Fisher-Perrier said.

In addition, Fisher-Perrier encouraged residents to keep their eye on council matters and to show up to directly convey their complaints to the Parish Council when Progressive is being discussed.

“People in the parish need to pay attention right now to what is on the agenda because when it comes time for us to have a public hearing about the garbage contract, they need to be there,” she said. “We need Progressive to hear these people.”

For Progressive’s part, Bordelon said he is committed to addressing any complaints St. Charles Parish residents may have.

“We understand that there are some issues there. I have seen them pointed out and we are going to do everything we can to correct it. That is a commitment we make to all of the residents of St. Charles Parish,” he said. “We are committed to doing right by St. Charles Parish and delivering the highest level of service in the solid waste industry. “We look forward to correcting the issues that are out there.”

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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