Valdosta Daily Times

February 13, 2013

Unresolved issues with trash

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County’s decision to move to a private contractor for the unincorporated areas vs. leaving the trash collection sites open remains a sore point for many citizens as there are still a number of issues that have not been adequately addressed.

Amid numerous complaints about service, or lack of, from the company that won the contract, citizens want to know what the county is going to do to hold them accountable. Trash bins left with lids open, or left lying down, or even in the street — and that’s for those who have been fortunate enough to receive a trash bin as many have told the Times they cannot get through to anyone at the company to start their service or if they have, they are still waiting for their bins to arrive.

Along with the county’s decision to get out of the trash business, as the commission proclaimed many times, there should have also been a very specific and concise plan to ensure that this process went smoothly. Alas, that hasn’t been the case.

Among the unresolved questions are what to do with hazardous materials. What about oil? Paint cans? Gasoline containers? Batteries?

The centers were for much more than household garbage, which is why so many residents of the city also used them frequently. There are numerous other items that are used in households that at some point, need to be discarded safely, and if someone is concerned enough to want to ensure that safety is the overriding factor, they are concerned enough to be willing to pay a fee to discard them.

It was one thing to mandate full county household garbage pickup, but it’s another to leave citizens with no options for the disposal of other, potentially hazardous, items that contain harmful chemicals or are highly flammable.

The majority of the citizens of Lowndes County don’t want to contaminate groundwater by dumping items unsafely, and they don’t mind having to use curbside service. What they do mind, though, is the fact that no one seems to be holding the company accountable for their lack of preparedness and no one seems concerned about ensuring that dangerous items can be disposed of safely.