Garbage service delays result from truck fire

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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Residents across Lowndes County are reporting delays related to their residential garbage pickup, a collection effort provided by Dothan-based Martin Environmental Services.

Mosses resident Janice Patterson shared a post on social media recently, asking if other residents had noticed delays with garbage pickup services. The response to her question came rapidly, with nearly 30 other citizens confirming their garbage bins were running over in Hayneville, Fort Deposit, Lowndesboro, and communities all across the county.

“Unfortunately, this happens pretty often these days,” Patterson said. “When I called Wednesday, the lady said the truck had probably gone to the dump and would be coming back to finish up. They never came back.”

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Patterson and others said they experience frequent delays with garbage collection, some going weeks without a pickup and others confirming the service is rarely performed on the scheduled day.

“They usually get my garbage within the week,” Patterson said. “Our garbage day is Tuesday. Today is Saturday and it’s still sitting on the curb.”

Martin CEO Brandon Hurst said delays were the result of a two-fold situation. One service truck caught fire and was out of commission, awaiting parts for repair. In addition, the company was forced to terminate a long-term employee who worked in Lowndes County and is in the process of training someone to fill the gap.

“We have been rotating people in the area and providing additional trucks to help,” Hurst said. “We have a rental and we are waiting on another rental truck.”

Lowndes County Commissioner Robert Harris said constituents throughout the county have reported delays. 

“Garbage is not being picked up in a timely manner,” Harris said. “People are complaining about a service that is being paid for but not received.”

According to Hurst, Martin is working seven days a week and after hours to alleviate the situation. Trucks are being diverted from other areas to assist and corporate maintenance teams have been working non-stop in Selma to keep trucks on the road.

“Our team is working incredibly hard and working through the weekend, each weekend to get everybody serviced,” Hurst said. “Typically by Sunday we are getting the large majority of customers picked up.”

Harris said his garbage pickup had been delayed. Normally scheduled for Monday, the service was completed about four days late. He had been in touch with Martin managers and was continuing to communicate with them to address the situation.

“It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that service is done according to the contract agreement we have,” Harris said. “[Martin representatives] talk about breakdowns they’re having, but that is not the customers’ fault. Martin knows there will be breakdowns, so they ought to be prepared for it as best as possible.”

Hurst urged customers to be patient and to call their customer service department to report service that is missed altogether.

“We understand people’s frustration,” Hurst said. “We’re asking people to bear with us. We are able to track the trucks and we are giving credits out for people that let us know if we missed them and never got them picked up.”