As Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida this past month, local waste haulers worked to prepare for the landfall and restore services in the volatile aftermath.
Garbage collection has resumed and is running, although services vary by county. Recycling has rebounded significantly, including in Lee County as of Monday. Still, according to Friday’s update from Charlotte County, garbage collection is behind schedule, in part because of the high volume. When it comes to the lengthy process of clearing storm debris, the county typically has separate contracts with vendors that are different than the day-to-day roadside waste haulers.
“We have great cooperation and partnerships with the cities and counties we serve, and everyone is paddled in the same direction towards recovery.” Dawn McCormick, director of communications and government affairs for WM in Florida, explains:
“Our number one priority was obviously helping people, making sure they and their families were safe, and that they could have a home if it became uninhabitable. We look to our community customers, but I think we are all very happy to see that we are serving our customers and getting closer to our schedule.
Haulers operating around the hard-hit Fort Myers area say their experience with past storms has helped them prepare for this one. Waste Pro says a lot has been learned since 2004’s Hurricane his Charlie. Chief Operating Officer Keith Banasiak – An earlier benchmark of a severe Southwest Florida storm.
Headquartered in Florida, Waste Pro booked hotel rooms in advance. A good portion of the employees suffered minor or major damage to their homes, and some even lost their cars. The company also tried to pre-procure fuel, water and ice. Mobilized food, generators and other resources for employees. “Clearly, they’re the number one catalyst for picking up trash for us,” Banasiak said.
Hurricane Ian was a historic storm, Waste Pro is no stranger to bad weather. “If you look at the footprints in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, you’re the target of the storm wherever you go. Therefore, we expect these events to take place,” said Banasiak.
However, Waste Pro does not explicitly set a budget for storms and severe weather.Ost escalates when hit. One of the costs the company currently faces is replacing thousands of carts. Swept away by a storm or damaged. The company estimates that in Lee County he will need to replace 20,000 to 25,000 carts.
Automated collections are typically less efficient if they cannot be collected from carts as they normally would. Damaged roads and non-functioning traffic lights were another cause of slowdowns in the aftermath of the storm. And when trucks arrived at waste treatment plants and landfills, long lines formed, which had a domino effect on the pickup schedule.
These disruptions occur as the amount of garbage increases. For example, a lot of rotten food is thrown away when power is lost during a storm. Banasiak explained that as Waste Pro resumes recycling, initially there is an understanding that recycling is likely to be heavily contaminated with excess trash.
Regarding garden waste, Waste Pro does not plan to resume service for another 30-60 days, as most garden waste today is likely collected as storm debris. When Waste Pro restarts, expect a large amount of processing. Waste Pro thinks so, especially considering that some seasonal residents may not have returned yet and started cleaning up.
WM likewise said it is focused on making sure its employees are safe and getting services back to normal while dealing with damaged infrastructure.
The company serves hard-to-reach areas such as Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Damage to the connecting road to the mainland in recent weeks has made transportation of garbage trucks difficult, especially since there were many other services going to the island by barge, including power trucks.
Additionally, with the WM Fort Myers Beach facility out of service, the company reorganized its Lee County operations at the nearby Florida Training Center.
“Where people are recovering and trying to get back to their new normal, we are there for them and they are so happy to see us. It’s great to be able to see the service…that’s another sign that things are going well,” McCormick said.
Even with recent progress A long cleanup awaits in Florida. “I think the biggest thing is to keep the morale of the employees and keep the working hours of the employees constant. But they have to rest.They have their own homes to maintain, right? Banasiak said, “It’s not an overnight solution. Everyone has to have patience.” I guess.”