Police Jury grapples with bulk waste issue
The collection of bulk / yard waste continues to be a thorn in the side of Acadia Parish Police Jurors.
“It’s not getting picked up in a timely manner, in some instances not at all, in the Iota area,” Steve Comeaux, chairman of the jury’s Solid Waste Committee said Tuesday night.
Bulk waste is defined as furniture, appliances and specific yard waste.
Yard waste is defined as grass, leaves, flowers, stalks, stems, tree trimmings, branches and tree trunks.
However, the ordinance specifies that materials such as grass, leaves, flowers and such “shall be placed in a proper container for collection, bag or box, the weight of which shall not exceed 75 pounds.”
Also, “Branches up to 6 inches in diameter shall be cut in lengths not exceeding 6 feet and shall be stacked at the curb. Tree trunks shall not exceed 75 pounds for any one piece.”
The parish currently has five “grapple trucks” that pick up bulk waste.
“I could have 10 trucks and we couldn’t keep up,” said Robert Hebert, solid waste supervisor. “I never asked for bulk waste. If I’d known I’d have bulk waste, I wouldn’t have taken this job.”
The collection of bulk waste in the parish originally was part of the contract with Waste Management, the parish’s first solid waste collector.
It has since evolved into a parish responsibility.
“This was not as big a problem back when we had routes,” said Juror A.J. “Jay” Credeur. “When we used to go around on designated days and pick it up, it seemed to work out.”
He said he remembers the bulk waste collection followed by one day the collection of solid waste.
“That way people had time to move their carts out of the way and stack their yard and bulk waste,” he said.
Currently, bulk waste is picked up by appointment. Citizens call in to the landfill and request the service.
But, according to Hebert, contractors — tree-cutting and building demolition contractors — are adding to the problem.
He said he’s heard of instances where a contractor will quote a citizen a lower price on a specific job if he (the contractor) doesn’t have to haul off the waste.
“They just pile it up at the side of the road and we get called to pick it up,” he said. “Sometimes there’s whole trees out there.”
The parish ordinance specifically states that the contractor is responsible for disposal of such waste material.
Another pitfall, according to Gordon “G-Ray” Morgan, was brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It got bad when people had to start staying home,” he said. “They had all this time to do things around their houses.”
The committee recommended stricter enforcement of the ordinance as it pertains to contractors.
Members also instructed Hebert to develop a “route plan” for the collection of bulk waste.
“We’ll try it for a month or so and see if it works,” said Comeaux.