2018-03-16 / Community

Trash collection curtailed in South Portland

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — Private trash haulers in South Portland could soon face a significant restriction on their operating hours.

The city council first explored the topic at a Nov. 27 workshop, at the behest of District 1 Councilor Claude Morgan, who said he was “being flooded with complaints,” from residents of his district, as well as some in Knightville. At that time, the council asked that City Manager Scott Morelli work with staff to craft new licensing guidelines.

Those new rules came back to the council at its March 6 meeting, garnering unanimous assent. A final vote is expected March 20.

The new rules mandate that trash haulers now provide a list of customer addresses and proposed hours of collection as part of their annual permit applications. Collection can only occur between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. in any residential zone, or in certain mixed use zones, “that are in close proximity to residential areas.”

At the suggestion of Breakwater Drive resident Judy Klein, the council also added the Spring Point condos to newly restricted areas.

“This offers tangible relief for our constituents. It is well deserved, well needed and well timed,” said Morgan, who cited testimony given in November by Ocean Street resident Julie Suiter

“I am constantly woken up by the ‘beep, beep, beep,’” she said, referring to the government-mandated back-up signal required on all large commercial vehicles. “It’s driving me ‘effin’ nuts. I’m out there in the morning in my slippers and bathrobe, yelling at people. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t continue to be woken up all night, almost every night, constantly.”

Morgan reminded his peers at last week’s first reading vote that Suiter has also pointed out how lack of sleep can affect job performance, and how, in her case, being a paramedic/firefighter, that weariness can present a danger to others, as well as herself.

“I can’t to go to work the next day and make a mistake,” she said. “I can’t afford it because I’m dealing with people’s lives.”

At the Nov. 27 workshop where the solid waste restrictions were first considered, several haulers said tight access and heavy traffic makes emptying large commercial trash bins difficult during daylight, commuting hours.

“We understand our trucks are loud. There’s no doubt about it,” said. T. J. Troiano, second-generation owner of Troiano Waste Services, at the time. “And we know dumping containers is a nuisance in certain areas at certain times. But there’s a reality as to why we dump some containers really early.”

“If we send a truck into Knightville at 6, 7, 8 in the morning, it’s going to be bad. There’s going to be accidents,” Troiano employee John Casey said. “We don’t do it to – pardon my language – piss people off. It really is the only time that we can get in there and get it done safely.”

“Trash is a hot button no matter what community we are in,” said Nate Chapman, general manager of Pine Tree Waste. “Nobody wants to deal with it, but everybody wants it to go away. It’s very, very difficult, even impossible at times for us to be in certain areas of the city at 8, 9, 10 a.m., or even 1 p.m. Forget about it, you’re not going to get through the route.”

As a concession of sorts, solid waste haulers would be allowed to apply to the city council for a waiver of the new collection standards. Such an exemption would be granted only “if the applicant can demonstrate an undue hardship related to traffic and/or access features and/or other operational logistics.”

Several councilors asked if any exemptions could place limits on the amount of noise allowed. However, City Attorney Sally Daggett said any ordinance language related to specific noise levels could be open to a lengthy legal challenge, which would not quickly resolve the issue for affected residents.

“(It) raises the issue of how effective it is and who had the right noise meter, and is it calibrated correctly, and is it being used in the right place and the right time. It’s very difficult to enforce,” she said.”

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@inthesentry.com.

Return to top