Irmo, SC (James Bowers) – Right now, one of the hottest button issues in many towns, Lexington County, and in fact across the Midlands in general, involves the topic of garbage collection. In the town of Irmo, that is exactly the case as it is in these other localities.
Irmo’s Mayor Hardy King says his constituents, frustrated by subpar service from the town’s current waste collection contract with Advanced Disposal, sometimes call as often as 5 times a day with complaints about neglectful performance from AD. King said that when the residents are calling him 5, 6 times a day, that means that they’ve already called everyone else including Advance Disposal, and the staff at the town’s town office. “When it’s taking time out of my day to deal with these calls, then I get frustrated, and I’m going to the company demanding an explanation," King said during a recent conversation. King went on to say that residents of Irmo often reported issues such as Advanced not picking up the garbage from any houses on a given street, to leaving some waste in the yards of homes they did pick up from.
Advanced Disposal began providing waste collection for the town over a decade ago, after acquiring Irmo’s previous waste provider Southland Sanitation. King noted that in 2013 Advanced switched to a single day pickup service, and that’s when the town really began to receive complaints regarding the services. King said that when discussions with Advanced occurred, and proposals for resolutions to the issue such as setting multiple collection days proved fruitless, the town council began seeking an alternative to replace the Ponte Verda, Florida based provider.
Talks regarding replacing Advanced Disposal stalled for a time as some council members voiced concerns over the cost of early contract termination. King reluctantly decided to ride the contract out, but did inform Advance Disposal of the town’s intention to part ways with the collector at the end of the agreement in 2017. King did note that AD has really “stepped its game up” and that there has been some improvement, but issues are still occurring regularly.
After the council’s final decision to replace Advanced Disposal was reached, a lengthy bidding process among several other sanitation companies to take the Irmo contract began. On May 2, at its first weekly meeting of the month, the Irmo town council voted to award the contract to Waste Industries.
The Raleigh, NC based outfit offers the full spectrum of residential, business, landfill, and specialty collection, and has been in business since 1970. According to its website, the company took root in its native eastern North Carolina, constructing several landfills there and handling garbage collection duties in several Tar Heel state towns. By the 1990s, Waste was seeing revenues in the hundreds of millions and went public with an initial IPO. In 2008, Waste Industries returned to a privately held operation, but the company has remained strong. Collection for Irmo and any other Midlands unit will be handled by its Columbia office.
Irmo Town Council Member Mark Pouliot praised the company, not only for its reasonable bid, but its regular purchase of new trucks and equipment. Pouliot sees this as a sign the company will do quality work, and is willing to invest in quality equipment to do its job.
King says that the new company will take over collection duties on July 31, 2017. The town will inform citizens of particulars such as collection days and procedures once those details become available. King said that he hopes to see a marked improvement in the collection service once Waste Industries begins performing the collection duties.
Neither Waste Industries nor Advanced Disposal returned phone calls from The Ledger requesting comment for this article.