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White Oak residents voiced their opinion at Monday’s council meeting that Big’s Sanitation is not fulfilling its contract, or meeting the needs of the community.
Former councilman Rich Bryce spoke during the public comments section of the meeting to address the issue.
He claimed that workers from the Belle Vernon-based sanitation company pull their trucks up to homes and put both trash and recycling into the same trucks.
“I voted for (Big’s) when I was on council because they had a good reputation and everything else,” Bryce said. “They’re breaking their contract. They’re screwing up. They’re charging us for two things and only doing one.”
Councilman George Dillinger said that Big’s told the borough is has one truck that can take both trash and recycling. Borough clerk Debbie Griffith, who also processes the trash collection billing, said she had heard about the dual truck as well, but then was told later that no such truck existed.
Solicitor Krisha DiMascio suggested that it was possible that the recycling gets thrown in the trash truck because the workers see something in the recycling bins that is no longer collected, like glass.
Certain South Hills municipalities stopped recycling glass as of Jan. 1, 2019, but White Oak's website lists clear, brown, green and beverage container glass as acceptable material for recycling, along with metal, newspaper, cardboard and seven types of plastic as acceptable collections.
Bryce’s complaints went beyond the mixing of trash and recyclables.
“I’m not real happy with my garbage cans and recycling cans or whatever being five foot out into the street either. That’s happened multiple times,” he said.
Griffith added an additional grievance, saying:
“I’ve had a client complain that if you have white garbage bags in your trash can they will pull out the bags and leave everything else in the bin. I kept saying ‘no, that’s not true, that’s not true.’ Then they did it at my house.”
Councilman Chuck Davis was receptive to the complaints.
“I’ve been on council for quite a while and I’ve never heard so many complaints about a trash company as I have with Big’s,” he said. “We’ve never had (complaints) before and now absolutely every week we have somebody.”
Davis said that council should consider rebidding the contract, for multiple reasons, when the current contract expires.
In other business:
Councilman Lou Bender added a reminder that the borough’s Halloween Parade and Truck and Treat will take place Oct. 26 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the White Oak Community Center, and that trick-or-treat will take place on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Borough Engineer Ken Hillman announced that bids for the new lighting and ceiling fans at the White Oak Athletic Association are due on Oct. 30, and he will offer a recommendation on how to proceed with the WOAA upgrade project at the November council meeting.
The White Oak police report for September included 17 total arrests, 16 adult and one juvenile; three assaults, two criminal trespasses, one disorderly conduct, two drug offenses, five DUIs, one harassment, one public drunkenness, one reckless endangering of another person, one theft, 61 traffic violations and 778 total incidents.
Christy Walters is a freelance writer from White Oak. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published October 22, 2019.