UPDATE March 7, 2018: The Henderson County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina has given Waste Pro a 30-day extension to resolve service issues, as reported by the Hendersonville Times-News.
County staff have been in communication with the company on a daily basis since it was put on warning last month and the number of complaints has decreased.
Talk of revoking the company's local operating permit seems to have quieted down. Commissioner Bill Ripley said that would temporarily leave thousands of customers without service, adding "that to me would create even more chaos."
- The Board of Commissioners in Henderson County, NC has given Waste Pro 30 days to address ongoing service issues under threat of permit revocation, as reported by the Hendersonville Times-News and other local publications.
- This comes after weeks of missed pick-ups, and some reports of recyclables being commingled with waste, following Waste Pro acquiring 8,000 new residential accounts from Republic Services. Waste Pro has promised to credit customers for missed service and "apply whatever resources necessary" to fix the problem. Drivers learning new routes, while also contending with a recent snowstorm, were described as factors.
- "Waste Pro is working closely with Henderson County leadership and staff to rapidly solve this temporary service issue," said Regional Vice President Bob ten Haaf in an emailed statement. "Mixing recycling was a very minimal issue as this is normally a 'blue-bag' program and those bags are separated out. I am sure that some of the loose items may have inadvertently been dumped, but we do not mix recycling as a rule."
Waste Pro is one of 14 permitted haulers in Henderson County. Prior to this transition, the company had been servicing 800 local accounts. These new issues follow recent reports of similar service issues in nearby Buncombe and Asheville counties.
Logistical issues in the acquisition of routes from Republic in both Henderson and Transylvania counties were initially described as a factor in the service problems. During a Feb. 5 county board hearing, Waste Pro Division Manager John Witherspoon attributed this to a discrepancy in account data and the number of drivers that were expected to transition.
When contacted, Republic deferred to Waste Pro for comment. A company spokesperson told Waste Dive that Witherspoon "was not in place during the time of the transition and, while his intentions were good, his comments were not accurate."
Like many other companies, Waste Pro has experienced hiring challenges due to the commercial driver shortage. Recently, the company announced a new recruitment partnership with the Florida Department of Corrections. The issues in North Carolina haven't been directly attributed to the driver shortage, though it likely isn't helping the company's ability to staff up quickly.
Service issues due to staffing shortages, route mapping and inclement weather — related to transitions or otherwise — aren't uncommon. Usually companies can find a way to work with their local government clients to make amends. If unresolved, these issues can potentially lead to changes when contracts come up for renewal. It's less common to see operating permits revoked entirely, and Waste Pro appears set on making sure that doesn't happen.