Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Village lacks 10 months of disposal reports

ISLAMORADA -- The village does not have 10 months of recycling and waste hauling records from its garbage contractor dating back to an October 2008 extension of that contract, according to materials turned over in response to a Free Press records request.

That 2008 extension with the contractor Veolia Environmental included several provisions aimed at increasing the town's non-vegetative recycling rate, which has traditionally hovered below 20 percent.

Most notably, it increased Veolia's recycling services to include single-stream collection of everything from mixed paper to shower curtains.

The contract also called for accountability measures, including the submission of a monthly report summarizing all village garbage disposed of by the ton as well as the submission of a monthly recyclable materials report.

The recycling report is supposed to contain the tonnage of all recyclables collected by category, such as newspaper, glass and aluminum.

The village, however, does not have trash and recycle collection reports for the months of January through March 2009, May through July 2009, November 2010, September 2011 and April and May 2012.

In addition, Veolia only submitted reports breaking down recycling collections by category through January 2009.

Local Advanced Disposal/Veolia manager Bruce Williams declined to comment on the company's 2008-11 reports when reached by the Free Press last week.

An April 10 Free Press story detailed that in the 10 monthly reports submitted by Advanced/Veolia in 2012, the companies reported taking nearly a fifth of the non-vegetative recyclables collected -- 104.5 tons -- to the South Miami-Dade landfill rather than to a recycle center.

In interviews for that story, Williams said the 50.4 tons of recyclables taken to the dump in October 2012 was the doing of a disgruntled employee who didn't want to make the drive to the Waste Service Inc. recycle center in Miami. That employee was fired for other work-related transgressions before Williams learned about the recycle hauls to the dump, he said.

The other 54 tons of recyclables that Advanced/Veolia took to the landfill were loads that contained too much nonrecyclable material to be acceptable to the WSI recycle center, Williams said.

WSI considers loads that contain more than 10 percent of nonrecyclable material contaminated. However, for a fee of $85 per truck, the facility will sort the load, according to customer service representative Ramon Canton.

The 30 monthly reports the village has from Veolia from the time of the contract extension in October 2008 through the end of 2011 don't show any nonvegetative recyclables being taken to the landfill until late in 2011.

In November and December of that year, a combined 15 tons were transported to the south Miami-Dade facility, according to the reports.

It is unclear what caused the reported change in procedures.

Village Public Works Director John Sutter said earlier this month that neither he nor anyone in the village has analyzed the solid waste reports in the past, as he has instead dedicated his time to working with Williams to make sure everyone's garbage gets picked up.

"I have been instructed to devote more time to analyzing these reports, which I intend to do," Sutter said in a follow-up interview Monday.

He also says he expects oversight to be bolstered as the village moves ahead with bidding out the waste hauling contract ahead of the Sept. 30 expiration of the Advanced agreement.

The Village Council has stated that it wants a sustainability coordinator hired to oversee a proposed mandatory commercial recycling program.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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