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County threatens to pull Waste Pro's garbage permit

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The Henderson County Board of Commissioners put a big garbage hauler on notice that it better improve its residential collection service or risk losing its permit to operate in the county.
Waste Pro recently bought Republic’s residential routes in Henderson County and Brevard, adding 8,000 new households that it has had trouble servicing. Waste Pro had just 800 residential customers here before it bought the Republic accounts.
“We recognize we have some service issues out there,” John Witherspoon, region operations manager for Waste Pro, told the decidedly unfriendly audience of commissioners at their regular meeting Monday night. “We acquired these customers from Republic. … In reference to not having enough staffing, we were going to retain their drivers, 22 people. … At the last second it didn’t happen. Otherwise we would have had several people, trained and ready to go. The documentation (of customers) was not quite up to par. There was lot of customers that shouldn’t be on there that were and a lot that should have been on there that wasn’t. ... You probably already know this already, a lot of these calls have already went down. …This was just a multitude of bad things that happened.”
Will Sagar, of the Southeast Recycling Development Council, said he had received reports of Waste Pro trucks dumping recycling in with the garbage. When customers see that, he said, they lose the incentive to recycle, the success of which depends on household customers taking the trouble segregate the waste stream.
County Manager Steve Wyatt and county Engineer Marcus Jones described a sharp rise in complaints from former Republic customers now served by Waste Pro. Unfortunately for Waste Pro, one of the unhappy customers was Michael Edney, the chair of the Board of Commissioners, who lives in Flat Rock.
Edney said he and some of his neighbors had called repeatedly when the garbage hauler missed their houses. The company promised to come within 24 hours and did only so only one time out of four. One time, the hauler came and picked up his trash but left all his neighbors’ homes, also Waste Pro customers, with piles of trash.
“It’s unacceptable,” he said.
“The bottom line is you folks got to get this taken care of or we’re going to pull the permit,” Commissioner Tommy Thompson added.
Commissioners gave the company 30 days to fix the problems or risk having its permit revoked.
Witherspoon pledged to get the books right and get everyone served.
“There’s still a lot of customers we don’t know about and we’re not going to know about until they slowly trickle in,” he said.
Outside the meeting room, he said was confident Waste Pro can catch the households it’s been missing.
“We’ll get it straightened out,” he said. “That’s what we do.”