RARITAN TWP., NJ – Uncollected residential garbage – some of it apparently sitting for weeks on end in the sweltering summer heat – is causing headaches for township officials here and in surrounding towns.
Raritan Township Administrator Don Hutchins said he was first alerted to the issue about a month ago. The problems arose after Republic Services acquired Premier Disposal in May, but then failed to collect garbage and recycling from Premier’s customers.
Republic Services is a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation’s largest providers in the solid waste industry, according to its website. It operates in 41 states and Puerto Rico.
Hutchins said he and Mayor Jeff Kuhl has been working to help resolve the problem and “trying to get response from Republic Services with minimal success.”
On Facebook, customers fume at the mounting refuse and share information on alternative trash haulers.
Apparently, some residents that Hutchins has spoken with did start receiving service from Republic, while others did not. While Hutchins said part of the problem may be a “lapse in the data of existing accounts from Premier that were sent to Republic … I can’t directly say what the other issues may be because Republic has been unresponsive to our repeated attempts at communicating with them.”
That led officials here to reach out to the state for help.
In a letter to the township, DEP Acting Section Chief Seth Hackman said he’s been in contact with, “Republic’s management, supervisors in their office in Clinton and their attorney regarding these matters.”
Republic is aware of DEP’s concern “and is taking steps to try and fix the problem,” Hackman wrote.
Hackman said residents with a complaint should contact the Hunterdon County Health Department at the office of the Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinators. Its phone number is 908-788-1351.
Each morning, Republic calls that office to obtain the addresses of any missed pickups, Hackman said, and Republic “has claimed that they will make those pickups by the next day.”
Residents can also file a complaint directly with Hackman’s office at 609-984-4250. The state forwards those complaints directly to Republic.
Under state rules, residential customers can choose their own solid waste collector on a competitive basis. “If a customer chooses to discontinue service, we have a list of other haulers who operate in Hunterdon County that we can make available to any resident who needs it,” Hackman said.
Hutchins said updated information will be posted to the township’s website. Republic didn't respond to TAPinto's request for comment.