JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of two city waste companies facing fines after thousands of reports of missed trash collection is also responsible for nearly a dozen chemical spills in Jacksonville neighborhoods, the News4Jax I-TEAM has learned.
The city has not said what spilled off the Republic Services trucks, but the company said there were hydraulic leaks from its collection trucks. Neighbors said the fluid ate away at the roads.
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 a city spokesperson, Republic Services was charged more than $15,000 for liquidated damages. The I-TEAM found it's not just because the company has been late picking up trash and yard waste.
City records reveal 10 documented spills across Jacksonville in the month of August. One of them was in front of David Glahn's East Arlington home.
"The hydraulic line that serviced the breaks had apparently broken and spilled the hydraulic fluid all over the road," said David Glahn, who has lived in the home for seven years.
City records obtained by the I-TEAM show Republic Services was fined four times in August because the company failed to report the spills happened and it was fined at least five times for failing to comply after the spills.
City records also reveal the company was fined $1,000 for each route it failed to complete. There were four in August, including in the Arlington area.
Glahn said he was surprised to learn the issues happening in the neighborhood are not isolated.
"I'm surprised they are having problems with the same kind of problems," Glahn said. "Apparently, it's an equipment problem. They may not be checking the lines."
In a bill to Republic Services, the city said it believes the age of the fleet of garbage trucks is the reason for the contractor's performance.
Republic Services on Monday sent the I-TEAM the following statement:
"When we are notified of hydraulic leaks from our collection trucks, we immediately contact our third-party contractor that dispatches a team to clean up the leak and remediate any potential issues. A truck that experiences a hydraulic leak is immediately sent to our maintenance shop and taken out of commission until the leak is repaired."