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I-TEAM: Companies fined after thousands of reports of late waste collection

Republic Services charged $15K for liquidated damages; Waste Pro given $250 fee

Republic Services charged $15K for liquidated damages; Waste Pro given $250 fee.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two city waste companies are facing fines after thousands of reports of missed trash collection. 

Dozens of people have complained to the city about their trash and yard waste being skipped for weeks, and the News4Jax I-TEAM found it's a bigger problem than just a few missed blocks.

City data obtained by the I-TEAM shows two companies have been past due on picking up a combination of yard waste, trash and recycling thousands of times in 2019. 

Solid Waste Performance summaries show Republic Services, or SWS, has been past due on waste collection 7,024 times this year and Waste Pro has been past due on waste collection 7,499 times this year. 

According to the data, most of the late collections had to do with yard waste. 

The city data also shows that in the month of September, both companies were recorded "past due" to collect trash more than they were "on-time."

Evelyn Story said she has been dealing with garbage being missed at her Arlington home since August. 

"It's everybody on my side of the road. They pick up on the other side of the road. But on my side, they leave. It has been out there for two weeks one time," Story said. "So, you have the heat and the maggots and the flies and stuff. It's ridiculous. They tell you to don't move it, let it stay out there because they never know when the man is going to come out there to pick it up."

Marcia Copeland, who lives in Arlington, said she wrote to the mayor’s office after dealing with her yard waste being left for weeks without being picked up. 

"I got the response back that they got contacted the company and said they were behind schedule and hope to have everything back up and running," Copeland said. "Low and behold, the trash that went two or three weeks without getting picked up, got picked up."

The city of Jacksonville told the I-TEAM: 

"A couple of the city’s waste collection contractors have been experiencing personnel and equipment issues. We are taking the complaints seriously, and appreciate citizens’ patience as we work with the contractors to resolve the problems. Residents are encouraged to continue reporting missed collections online at myjax.custhelp.com or by calling 630-CITY (2489)."

The city said it assesses a fee for liquidated damages. According to a city spokesperson, Republic Services was charged more than $15,000 and Waste Pro was given a $250 fee.

When asked about the contracts for both these companies, the city said it could not discuss them. 

"It's very disgusting. Like I said, the heat and the maggots, Oh, my God," Story said. "Do your job. You're getting paid."

Ron Pecora, the senior vice president of Waste Pro, which serves 75,000 city of Jacksonville customers, told the I-TEAM: 

"The combination of summer storms, Hurricane Dorian and spring growth put our crews temporarily behind. According to our division manager, we will be fully caught up next week."

Republic Services told the I-TEAM that it added six trucks in May, June and July, and said its satisfaction rate, which is based on the number of recorded complaints, is more than 99%.

"We are proud to serve the city of Jacksonville and its residents and work hard to continually improve and resolve any service issues. We recently added six additional new trucks to our Jacksonville fleet. Year to date, we have performed a total of 8.1 million drive-bys to the homes throughout our Jacksonville service area. We do our best to maintain a 100% satisfaction rate and we are currently at approximately 99.92%. We are committed to the residents of Jacksonville and will continue to do better," a Republic Services spokesperson said.

The city is asking residents to use the following links to report any missed trash:

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.