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Bulk waste operators ‘overwhelmed,’ jurors learn

The parish’s bulk waste collection program is being overwhelmed and most of the problem is due to contractors not following the law, according to the driver of one of the parish grapple trucks.
Anthony Manuel told members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury that trucks are picking up entire trees and houses only to return to the area the next day to find the side of the road again stacked up.
“Contractors are taking the signs off their trucks and putting trees to the road,” Manuel said. “They’ll be lined down the whole side of the road – trees, not limbs or branches, whole trees. We make load after load while people just down the street are getting angry because we’re not picking up their little pile of trash.
“We finally get it cleared, and the next day it’s another tree.”
Jurors noted that contractors can offer lower prices on jobs if they don’t have to haul the waste themselves, “even though it’s free to bring it to the landfill as long as it comes from Acadia Parish.”
Concerning demolished structures, Manuel said crews are simply pushing the debris up to the side of the road with a bulldozer and leaving it there. “There’s wood and shingles and furniture. We even had a bathtub,” he said.
“This program wasn’t designed to haul off whole trees and houses,” Manuel said. “We have five trucks, but at this rate, we can’t keep up.”
Jury President Chance Henry instructed parish attorney Glen Howie to look at the current parish ordinance to determine “if we can put more teeth in it. Meanwhile, we’re going to look into enforcing what we have on the books.”
In a related matter, jurors decided to put off the purchase of a new grapple truck for the landfill’s fleet.
The Solid Waste Committee had recommended that the jury purchase a truck from Covington Sales and Service at a price of $206,500, pending a review of the maintenance costs on the existing fleet.
“After getting the numbers on maintenance, it’s just not feasible to buy a truck at this time given the state of the economy,” said Steve Comeaux, committee chairman.
The jury did go ahead with the lease of various items of heavy equipment to be used at the landfill, contracting with Doggett of Baton Rouge for two articulated dump trucks, a bulldozer and an excavator.
John Dickinson, representing Doggett, said the equipment would be delivered to the landfill before the current leases expire on July 10.

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