By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – The county will soon start using a new waste collection firm and on Tuesday, Dec. 11, Piney Woods Sanitation provided an update to the Houston County Commissioners Court on the progress of the transition.
Piney Woods Sanitation District Manager Denny Wheeler was present during the court session and informed the commissioners his company, which the court had previously approved, was “… only a couple of weeks away from taking over the county waste.”
He said the list of customers provided by the current waste collector, Waste Connections, contained 1,847 customers who were being serviced in the county.
“Right now, 1,100 customers had called in to set up service. We are still shy 700. I believe by the time Dec. 24 (the week Pineywoods takes over) comes around, we will probably be looking at about 400 customers shy of that 1,800,” he said.
As the changeover date approaches, Wheeler said he expected a mass call-in of customers and estimated the final tally would be approximately 2,100. He explained the switchover had unearthed roughly 200 new customers who had not used Waste Connections for their waste disposal.
He added his company had established 30 commercial accounts throughout the county, with a total of 37 dumpsters expected to be in place within the next few days.
“We have delivered 1,050 carts. Today we are putting out the 50 that came in today and Monday. The next thing is Christmas week. We are starting our contract Christmas week. If you have been in the waste business, Christmas is notoriously the heaviest time of the year, no matter what,” he said.
While the estimated amount of trash may triple during the holidays, Wheeler said his company would be prepared and would have three trucks in the county.
“We will start our normal route on Christmas Eve (day). We will have two backup trucks waiting in case people need service on that Monday. We will send those trucks out and we will get their cart to them when we can,” Wheeler said.
The company will be closed on Christmas but will resume operations on Wednesday as they run their typical Tuesday route in addition to the Wednesday route. On Thursday the routes should be back on schedule, the district manager said.
One issue Wheeler noted was a lack of cooperation from Waste Connections in that they will not empty trash placed in a Pineywoods Sanitation cart. He further indicated while he was out delivering carts on Monday, he had placed a hanger on the carts explaining not to use the Pineywoods Sanitation carts until the week of Dec. 24.
Wheeler also reported the customers who use Buell Sanitation in the southern part of Houston County will continue with Buell.
“I want people to understand the reason for the (county’s decision to) switch was number one the communication and number two the service. We are going to provide you (the court) with communication every month. We are also going to give great service. But – please understand – with people waiting until the week of Christmas to call in and switch services, there are going to be some issues,” Wheeler said.
Before he concluded, Wheeler stressed the county customers currently using Waste Connections needed to call Piney Woods Sanitation and set up an account to avoid a disruption in service.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.