Complaints litter debris pickup
Residents tell parish that yards have been damaged during pickup, CWS general manager has only gotten one complaint
St. Charles Parish has received numerous complaints from residents that their yards were damaged during the debris pickup process, according to Renee Allemand, the parish's public information officer. St. Charles Parish has received numerous complaints from residents that their yards were damaged during the debris pickup process, according to Renee Allemand, the parish's public information officer.
However, Gus Bordelon, the general manager of Coastal Waste Services, says those complaints aren’t making their way to his office.
“Those complaints have not been given to us,” Bordelon said. “So far, we only got one call from Councilman Larry Cochran about someone whose mailbox was damaged. We took care of it that day.”
By Sept. 26, Coastal Waste Services had picked up 75,000 cubic yards of debris and was set to wrap up collection by Oct. 3, according to Bordelon.
CWS has used their garbage company to pick up the debris because Bordelon says that's a way to guarantee that the job gets done.
“We have our garbage company pick up the debris because that way you don't have two separate companies pick up debris and garbage and then point fingers if something doesn't get done,” Bordelon said. “It belongs to us.”
After the debris pickup is complete, CWS' garbage trucks will make a pass to pick up any additional piles.
Allemand says that debris pickup is on schedule, but she has fielded several complaints from area residents on her government blog and over e-mail.
“We've heard quite a few complaints - close to 20 that I’ve gotten directly,” Allemand said. “People have said that the machinery workers are using to pick up the debris is making a mess.”
Allemand and other parish officials work with the contract monitor’s office to make sure the complaints are handled by CWS or their subcontractors. As lead contractor, CWS will decide who takes responsibility for any damage caused in the process of debris removal.
“Whenever the contract monitor gets complaints, they are supposed to forward them to us when they receive them,” Bordelon said. “We haven't gotten any so far.”
Chandra Sampay, with the contract monitor’s office, says that she may have gotten 10 complaints overall, but she is sending those to CWS’ on-site foreman, not Bordelon.
“We haven’t had any major issues so far,” Sampay said.
Bordelon says that there might be some ruts in people's yards because of the havoc Hurricane Ike wreaked on the debris removal process.
“We may have made some ruts, but there is always going to be some of that when you are dealing with debris pickup during storms,” Bordelon said. “We were told to go in and get everything out quickly and we had another storm right after the first one. If we identify damage that we caused, we will take care of it.”
Bordelon also says that some residents may not have placed their debris on the curb like they were supposed to.
“The reason there might be some ruts is that in the storm debris removal process, debris is supposed to be left on the curb,” he said. “Our guys are not supposed to have to step foot in anyone's yard.”
There are also contract monitors on hand to make sure damage does not occur.
“There are monitors out with every crew to eliminate stuff like that,” Bordelon said.
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