City says it’s addressing contract issues with Waste Pro after trash piles up in some neighborhoods

Problem Solvers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis city official told City Council on Tuesday that the city is hiring an additional company to help with garbage collection in parts of Cordova and Hickory Hill.

City COO Doug McGowen said the level of service provided by contractor Waste Pro has been “unacceptable,” saying the city is hiring a different company to finish the work, and looking into legal options in their contract with Waste Pro.

Residents in those areas have contacted WREG complaining about trash piling up. Our Problem Solvers have reported on those issues, asking Mayor Jim Strickland’s office if he has any explanation, but his office never responded to our inquiries.

McGowen told council members that the city has not paid the contractor for several months.

“Quite frankly we are exercising every option we have in the contract,” he said.

The administration ended its contract with Inland Waste to service these areas under similar circumstances in 2018.

Waste Pro released the following statement on Thursday:

“Like most cities and counties, we are experiencing dramatically higher volumes of residential waste, bulk waste and yard waste during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our frontline drivers and helpers are on the streets every day (including curfew hours) as we manage collections in the safest and most efficient way for our communities and our employees.

Our Memphis Division is in contact with the City’s solid waste leadership daily to review and update operational needs.  Operationally, Waste Pro has made adjustments to move more equipment on the household trash routes in an effort to meet the increased demand. We are also pulling resources (ten additional trucks and drivers/helpers) from other markets to support this temporary situation. Additionally, we are working 6 days a week to keep up.

Delays are to be expected as the trucks fill up much faster than usual causing more travel time to the collection facilities to dump and return to continue routes. Specifically, a comparison from April 2019 to April 2020 shows residential waste, recycle, yard waste, bulky tons are up 35.4% and landfill trips up 33.26%. We were honored to be selected to serve the City when selected for a emergency service contract in 2019. At that time (and in our bid proposal) we operated 27 trucks and today operate 27 trucks, however it is clear that the almost one third waste increase is due to the pandemic.

We apologize for any inconvenience to residents and are proud to service the City of Memphis. We ask for patience until we can get caught up with the increased waste volumes.”

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