Trash problem leads county commission to declare health and safety emergency

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Lowndes County Commission declared a health and safety emergency for the county following the termination of the solid waste contract with Purdie and Sons Refuse Service last Thursday.

According to a statement released by the Lowndes County Commission, Purdie and Sons have been unable to pick up the residential solid waste called for in the contract in a timely manner.

The four-year relationship between the Lowndes County Commission and Purdie and Sons became tumultuous last July when Calhoun residents attended a county commission meeting to voice complaints over delays in garbage collection services in the county.

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The complaints continued well into 2015 with reports of irregular and inconsistent garbage pickup until the commission issued a 30-day notice for Purdie and Sons to correct the county’s trash problem or face a termination of the contract.

Lowndes County Commission chairman Robert Harris said that the month-long period was meant to give the contractor time to right the ship, but the steady course was only held for a brief time.

“They did come back to comply within the 30 days that they were given, but then they went back out of compliance later on, and so that’s what led up to where we are now,” Harris said.

In lieu of a contractor, various county workers have taken it upon themselves to clean up the trash.  The commission leased a garbage truck during the interim between contractors, and aim to have the current garbage situation within the next two days.

“We are doing everything in our power to protect and serve the citizens of Lowndes County,” Harris said.

“We are even taking matters into our own hands until we can get a new solid waste provider. No later than Saturday, the garbage should be back to where it used to be.  The people of Lowndes County will be served and protected.”

The county administrator has already sent out several notices requesting companies to submit proposals to provide solid waste services.

“We’re sending out bids now, and we hope to get the bids back in by Tuesday,” Harris said.

“We will decide on who the contractor will be from that point, and they will probably start on July 1.  Until that time, we will continue picking up the garbage ourselves.”