INDIANAPOLIS – Republic Services and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works have received hundreds of phone calls over the past week from paying customers who say their trash hasn’t been picked up in days.
The situation is perhaps most intense at the Reflections apartments along Silverleaf Drive, where mountains of trash have grown – with the complex telling CBS4 their trash hasn’t been removed in days.
In a joint statement released on August 20, Indy DPW & Republic Services said:
The Indynapolis Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) leadership met with the Republic of Indianapolis services earlier this week to discuss the recent challenge of garbage collection in the community. Solid waste management organizations have not been exempt from the staffing issues and other pandemic-related issues that many organizations and businesses are currently facing. Republic is aware of the situation and has identified the issues causing the delays, including staffing, a shortage of truck parts and the continued increase in the volume of solid waste. Republic has made internal changes regarding staffing this week and plans to complete all Friday routes before the end of the week, with no downhill routes or waste over the weekend. Indy DPW and Republic Services are hopeful that these adjustments will resolve the situation and allow all routes to be collected in the future. DPW has had a long and successful partnership with Republic Services for over 20 years and is confident that Republic Services will overcome these temporary challenges and provide the highest level of customer service to residents in the future.
But the problem has not been resolved, as their target date of Friday the 21st has passed, the garbage is still there – the pile is getting bigger by the hour.
âIn the end, fix it and fix it now. A week, a week and a half, a few days is too long. Period, âsaid a resident of Reflections Apartments. âThis statement is the response of a communications spokesperson. When they come home at night, they don’t have that. We have to stop there, and we have to live like this. If this trash can, like this, was sitting by my doorâ¦ they would kick me out. It is unfair.”
Garbage bags with all kinds of food waste, dog feces, televisions, vacuum cleaners, fast food bags and beer cans fill two separate areas of the apartment complex – and with nowhere to go take their waste, residents continue to pile it up.
âWe’re going to have rats here soon. Mice, we already have squirrels and other things that end up in the trash, âsaid one resident. “Can you even imagine by the end of the week what it will feel like here if we keep adding that up?” It’s not okay.”
The apartment complex, like many others, including the owners, is being left at the mercy of service providers like Republic who have faced staffing issues and shortages of parts for their trucks – they sent a voicemail message to customers who have said so.
âWe are recently experiencing residential collection delays in the area and will be focusing on garbage removal,â the voicemail message Republic Services sent to their customers on Aug. 16 said. âWe are working to catch up. We apologize for any disruption this may cause and we appreciate your understanding and patience during this time. “
That patience and understanding is running out for people like Veronica Cundiff who works as a Community Manager for Reflections Apartments.
âI’ve been on the phone since Monday morning – I’m trying to get in touch with someone because I don’t want my residents to have to go through this. It smells. It looks bad. It’s a mile highâ¦ it’s not what I want for my community, âCundiff said. âI called them three or four times todayâ¦ I actually had to call from a personal cell phone because they no longer answered my calls. “
Cundiff says Republic told him the trash would be removed by the end of the day on Tuesday – that did not happen.
âI want them to keep their word. They’ve told me twice now that it will be picked up and it hasn’t and I’m disgusted by it, âCundiff said. âI want him to go away. And I want him to go away now.
CBS has contacted both Indy DPW and Republic Services for updated comments on this story. They said their spokespersons were unavailable, but said DPW’s contract controllers were continuing to investigate reports of a missed trash service. DPW has also confirmed that it will seek damages in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Republic’s contract on the issue of missed service.
DPW says the leadership of the Republic has taken full responsibility and hopes for a speedy return to providing services to residents of its neighborhoods.
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