I-TEAM: City trash company gets a second chance after 7,000 missed trash collections, chemical spills

Trash hauler Republic Services has been charged over $220,000 in fines

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City leaders say they will continue to contract with a trash company responsible for more than 7,000 complaints of missed trash pick-up and more than a dozen chemical spills in Jacksonville neighborhoods.

This comes after the Solid Waste Division sent a letter to Republic Services in October threatening to end its contract with the city over unreported spills, failing to clean up spills and missing scheduled trash pick-ups.

The letter from Jacksonville’s Chief of Solid Waste said “from October 2018 through August 2019, [trash hauler Republic Services] has been charged over $220,000” in fines. According to the letter, the fines were levied in response to more than 2,800 issues with Republic Services.

Chief Williams wrote “the city has attempted to work with SWS on numerous occasions in order to rectify these non-compliance issues, but [Republic Services] continues to be in default under the agreement.”

Despite that, the city decided to give Republic Services another chance in early December.

A City spokesperson told News4Jax the city “will monitor the misses compared to the previous two years to ensure that the service is better.”

According to city officials, the issues are mostly impacting Arlington neighborhoods.

District 1 City Councilmember Joyce Morgan said this week trash collection has been an issue for at least the last five years.

“This is a problem that should not be going on. When taxpayers are paying for a service, they expect their garbage picked up because when garbage is not picked up that creates blight in our neighborhoods and in Arlington and District 1, we are fighting blight every single day,” Morgan said.

Councilmember Morgan said under new conditions the company is required to reduce complaints about its service by 10% every quarter and meet with city officials once a month.

“Republic knows this is it. The citizens are calling for them to be gone and so it’s really up to them to take up the mantel and do what they need to do in 2020 to make this a different kind of contract,” said Morgan.

Republic Services is not the only city trash company facing fines.

City records show Republic Services has been past due on waste collection at least 7,024 times during 2019, but Waste Pro was also past due on waste collection 7,499 times during 2019.

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