GREEN COVE SPRINGS – For almost a month, Paul Curtis’ trash can has been returned to its proper resting place after being emptied by Advanced Disposal, however, that has not always been the …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – For almost a month, Paul Curtis’ trash can has been returned to its proper resting place after being emptied by Advanced Disposal, however, that has not always been the case.
For about three years, Curtis has been in what he describes as constant communication with county officials and Advanced Disposal – the outsourced trash pickup company for Clay County – stating his case about the dangers of having to stop his truck on busy Russell Road to move his trash can out of the roadway. Now, after more calls, the company has taken this a step farther by bringing Curtis’ trash to his nearby fence, 15 feet away from the road and the dangers it previously held for Curtis and his trash.
“It’s annoying, sure,” Curtis said. “But it’s also extremely dangerous, especially if I don’t get home until 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., where traffic is super busy and nobody should be teetering on the edge of the road like you have to in order to move your trash.”
For weeks, Curtis would have to put his truck in park on Russell Road, effectively stopping all moving traffic behind him, exit his vehicle, move his trash can from the center of his driveway, return to his vehicle and finally, pull in to his property. Although many declined to comment, Curtis’ neighbors endured the same careless treatment by garbage crews.
Curtis’ neighbor Charles Waxler said he’d been experiencing this problem for quite a while.
“This has been happening for more than a year,” Waxler said. “Anytime I get on the phone with them, anytime I tell them to leave the cans where they’re supposed to, they leave it in the middle of the driveway.”
Waxler, like Curtis, finds himself exiting the vehicle he’s in to move his trash can out of the way as well putting himself in harm of arear-end collision from speeding drivers.
Another resident in the area not only finds their trash can placed where it shouldn’t be, but sometimes fully ignored.
“Probably about once a month, I have to call Advanced Disposal because they’ll just completely ignore my trash,” said the resident, who asked they not be named. “There’s only a few houses on this side and sometimes, they’ll only pick up the other side.
“It sucks and I’d say it’s the exception to the rule where my cans are empty and where they are supposed to be, if my trash has even been picked up at all,” the resident said.
As it stands now, it seems the problem has been fixed and, according to Curtis, it’s because he finally managed to get on the phone with Mike Cella, the county commissioner for District 1, which is the district Curtis’ residence is located.
“I called and called and hadn’t heard for weeks,” said Curtis. “Well finally, him and I talked and since then, the problem has been fixed.”
Curtis doesn’t believe the problem will stay fixed for long, but Cella said that more permanent solutions have been put into place to help ensure Curtis’ problem doesn’t return.
Previously, Advanced Disposal hired temporary workers for its garbage routes. One set of temporary labor workers might get told the rules – in this case, return the trash cans where they belong – but, when new temporary workers come on board, those rules might not get passed onto the new crew.
Cella said that full-time workers have been hired for Curtis’ route and he believes this will help put an end to the Russell Road problem. On top of that, based on Curtis’ recommendation, Advanced Disposal garbage trucks will have signs posted on the trucks reminding workers to return all trash cans to where they were found.
“We don’t control everything Advanced Disposal does – they’re a third-party organization – but they’ve been very cooperative in working with us to get the problems solved and because of that, we are confident we’ve found a fix,” Cella said.
While Curtis isn’t as confident that the problem will stay fixed, he is hoping to be proven wrong.
“I’ve seen these problems go away for a little bit and in six weeks or so, they come back,” Curtis said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened again but I’m hoping I’m wrong this time.”