Nearly one week after Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration demanded a garbage pickup improvement plan from Republic Services, the city-parish sanitation contractor has hired DRC Emergency Services as a subcontractor to help supplement its collection of storm debris and “woody waste,” including large piles of tree branches and other mixed materials left along the curbs near residences.
As part of the deal, DRC will provide Republic with both crews and four, 120-cubic-yard claw trucks—four times the size of the trucks in Republic’s current fleet—which Republic General Manager Sharon Mann says allows for “greater holding capacity and increased efficiency” with waste pickup.
“This is the heaviest time of year, and we were already falling behind on that collection,” Mann says. “Then it was complicated by the floods, storms and tornado a week-and-a-half ago. We needed some help, particularly with the areas that had damage.”
DRC began work Monday and is also working today, says Mann, with work continuing on an as-needed basis since Republic has a standing national contract with DRC to assist in times of need.
While it’s unclear how much Republic is paying DRC for its work, it won’t require the use of any additional city-parish taxpayer funds because it’s not taking place during a named storm, which would require Republic to take on more work than usual, says Metro Councilman Matt Watson.
The hiring of DRC points to a “great need” for a staging area in the southern part of the parish where waste can be dumped, Watson says, adding the long drive to the current dump site on Samuels Road contributes to existing inefficiencies.
DRC has previously been hired by the city-parish for other disaster relief efforts, he says, such as after Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
Meanwhile, Broome is planning a joint press conference with Republic Services Wednesday at 10 a.m. to discuss its improvement action plan for local garbage and recycling services. The press conference will take place in the Metro Council chambers at 222 St. Louis Street.