PORT ST. LUCIE — It’s been less than three days since FCC Environmental Services officially started picking up trash here, and already the new garbage hauler is behind in collections. The reason, according to the city, is the backlog left by Waste Pro.
About 25% of Monday’s routes — largely the southeast sector of the city — still were being collected Tuesday morning, according to FCC Senior General Manger Joe Sandora
The same process will continue through a transition period until Waste Pro’s backlog of leftover trash is eliminated, according to the city.
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“Essentially, a lot of our trucks had to go to the disposal (site) three times when they should only have to go twice because of how heavy (the volume) was, which had a very big impact,” Dan Brazil, FCC vice president of operations, said Tuesday morning.
Port St. Lucie selected FCC — a 122-year-old, international company headquartered in Madrid — to replace Waste Pro, the city’s contracted hauler since 2006, about eight months ago.
That decision came in the wake of thousands of customer complaints regarding missed and late collections as well as a lawsuit the city filed against Waste Pro for poor performance.
For Port St. Lucie resident Janette Mazarredo, who lives in Paar Estates, the continued delays in trash pickup are frustrating.
“Our garbage has been outside for two weeks today,” she said Tuesday. ” I can’t even walk my dog because it smells so foul.”
FCC’s contract, and first scheduled neighborhood collections, began Monday, but the company began work in Port St. Lucie Thursday in an effort to catch up on Waste Pro’s backlog of trash overflowing from bins and accumulating along curbs.
Under FCC’s $34.5 million contract, it has 30 days to catch up with Waste Pro’s backlog. As of last week, Waste Pro still was two to three weeks behind in collections, according to City Manager Russ Blackburn.
FCC hopes to eliminate that backlog within two weeks, Brazil said.
To ensure that deadline is met, FCC has hired three subcontractors to help catch up, according to Sandora, and the city’s six leased trucks are helping out during the transition.
Despite having to pick up WastePro’s leftover trash, FCC’s first few days of collection went smoothly, according to Florida Regional Director Mitch Dahlstrom.
“There are a lot of drivers and they’re all at different skill levels. Some of them have industry experience, some of them don’t, so they all perform at different speeds,” Dahlstrom said. “But the one benefit of having all our trucks in that area is they’ll help each other out.”
Residents should place their garbage and recycling carts at least 3 feet away from each other and from anything that could obstruct operation of the automated trucks, including mailboxes and piles of bulk waste and yard waste. Improperly placed carts can slow down the collection process, officials said
Customers who want to exchange their carts for another size (64- or 94-gallons) should call 772-871-1775 by Dec. 5. Exchanges of carts after Dec. 5 will cost $75.