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Republic Services Pick-Up Schedule Change Q&A
Republic Services Pick-Up Schedule Change Q&A Due to January 4, 2018 Snowstorm
The Town of Auburn has received several inquiries since the snow storm last Thursday, January 4, 2018 in which municipal trash customers experienced cancellations and delays in their trash pick-up. The revised schedule was made more challenging due to the New Year’s holiday that fell on Monday of that same week.~ In an effort to provide municipal trash customers with information in response to their questions, the following Q&A is provided:

Why was the trash service cancelled last week?
On Wednesday, January 3, 2018 town officials watched local weather forecasts and observed that there would be a major snowstorm to hit the area on Thursday January 4, 2018.  Due to the extreme weather that was predicted, and heeding the urging of Governor Baker for all non-emergency vehicles and motorists to stay off the roads, town officials consulted with the Town’s solid waste collection company, Republic Services and due to the safety of the residents, the drivers, and all that may be impacted by being on the road during the storm, the decision to cancel the collection service scheduled for Thursday,  January 4th was made.

Why was there a change in schedule for the trash collection?
Last week, Republic Services, the vendor for the Town’s municipal trash collection customers,  was operating on a holiday week schedule.  Since the New Year’s Day holiday fell on Monday, it caused routine trash collection to be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week  (Monday’s route would be picked up on Tuesday; Tuesday route picked up on Wednesday, etc.).  However, since the snowstorm occurred within the holiday schedule week, it caused an additional one-day delay in normal pickup service (i.e Wednesday customers who were moved to Thursday due to the holiday were then moved to Friday due to the storm on Thursday; Thursday customers were then moved from the holiday schedule of Friday to Saturday).

What was the change in schedule for the rest of the week once Thursday’s collection service (which was for Wednesday customers) was cancelled?
Due to the Thursday collection service (for Wednesday customers) being cancelled during the holiday week schedule, residents were advised that the Wednesday route customers would now be picked up on Friday.  The Thursday route customers would now have to be picked up on Saturday.  Friday route customers would be delayed by one week to the following Friday, since no trash collection could occur on Sunday.

Why couldn’t Republic Services pickup solid waste on Sunday?
Due to the federal Department of Transportation laws for commercial businesses, the collection company was not able to work on Sunday to collect the remaining Friday route customers. No exemptions to the federal law are allowed for commercial companies regardless of their municipal contracts.  The transportation regulations~prohibit commercial drivers from working more than 60 hours per week. So last week by the end of the day Saturday all drivers were at or near their 60 hour maximum allowed so they couldn't work Sunday.  DOT regulations also require a 10 hour break between shifts and a 36 hour sit-out between 60 hour work weeks.

Why couldn’t the Friday route be picked up on the following Monday and then delay every route by one day?
Unfortunately, there was no easy way to resolve the snowstorm delay.  By delaying Friday customers to the following Monday would have created the same issue at the end of the week as each day would have been moved to the following day to enable a Friday customer pick up on Monday, so at the end of this week Friday customers would once again be affected and pushed to the following week as the 60 hour limit would be reached before the 6-day service was completed Following the snowstorm, routes were taking much longer to complete in part due to the extended waiting time at Wheelabrator – normally a 20 minute wait became a 2 to 3 hour wait so the drivers were reaching the 60 hour maximum sooner than under normal conditions.

Has this ever happened before and what steps were taken to mitigate the situation from happening in the future?
In New England, we all know that we cannot control Mother Nature and the potential for snowstorms.  
The combination of~the holiday week and the snowstorm formed the perfect storm and had a major impact on driver scheduling at Republic Services. This type of incident has occurred only once in nearly eight years, previous to this event, so clearly a rare occurrence.  Going forward, if there is a need to cancel trash collection service, the town will continue to give proper notice and will ensure that trash collection occurs although working around an alternate schedule with the municipal hauler.

What steps has the Town & Republic Services taken to mitigate the delay in service?     
The Town recognizes that this snowstorm and cancellation of trash collection last week during the holiday schedule has caused disruption in the normal pickup schedule.  Town officials and Republic Services worked together to provide an alternative option for trash disposal by placing a dumpster at DPW from Tuesday, January 9th through Friday the 12th, 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM for municipal trash customers who are on the Friday schedule, as well as anyone whose pick up was missed or who had trouble getting their bags out in the extreme cold as a result of the storm. The dumpster option is for bagged household trash only and no blue bags are needed. Recyclables are being collected this week as scheduled.

If I am a Friday route municipal customer, will my trash be picked up this week?
For those Friday customers who want to wait until this Friday for curbside pickup rather than dropping bags at DPW, that pick up will still occur as scheduled. The dumpster at DPW just provides another option for trash disposal for Friday customers impacted by the storm.   Additionally this week only, Friday customers are not required to use blue overflow bags for any excess trash that does not fit inside the trash toter.  This decision was made by the Town in an effort to alleviate the inconvenience that the delay in pickup has caused.  Since the Friday route is actually 2 routes totaling approximately 1600 customers and we expect two weeks of trash along with this being a recycling week, the pickup times may take longer than usual due to the sheer volume that is being collected.  We appreciate your patience while the drivers work to get the job complete.

The Town of Auburn wishes to thank all of the municipal solid waste customers on the system and appreciates everyone’s understanding while we get through this week with the collection service.  We recognize that the Republic drivers are doing their best to clean up all of the trash and recycling this week, and we all look forward to getting back on the normal pickup schedule starting next week.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the DDIS/ Board of Health at 508-832-7703.

Thank you!

Town of Auburn, 104 Central Street, Auburn, MA 01501
Hours: Monday 8am - 7pm, Tues-Thurs 8am - 4pm, Friday 8am - 1pm
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