The day people in Harrison County have long waited for came Monday, when Team Waste was out collecting garbage and recycling in most every city and throughout the county.
Gulfport chose to stick with Waste Pro while Biloxi, D’Iberville, Long Beach, Pass Christian and the county — tired of the service and complaints — switched companies.
Team Waste started as scheduled on Monday, while Pelican Waste & Debris began a week early collecting branches and other debris that had piled up. The debris sat for so long that residents posted photos of it on Facebook.
Donald Scharr, director of the Harrison County Utility Authority, said Monday he hadn’t had time to officially calculate the amount of rubbish Pelican collected in the last week, but estimates it was several hundred tons of material.
He said Team Waste is bringing in crews from neighboring counties when they finish their regular pickup to help in Harrison County.
“We’re having to do some makeup,” he said, but that is not taking away from the company’s regular service.
“Certainly our anticipation and goal is to get everything that’s been missed picked up by the end of this week,” he said.
That will be a welcome change to residents who made 14,289 calls to Waste Pro last year, an average of 1,191 calls a month, Scharr reported in July.
An assessment of the county was done over the weekend and Scharr said they found areas where trash wasn’t collected.
“Predominately these were garbage misses,” he said, and most were north of the interstate in D’Iberville and Woolmarket. Crews were focusing on getting the garbage picked up. “We don’t want stuff to be out there the entire week,” he said.
Garbage collection will go to once a week under the new contract and a map shows collection days by region.
The Utility Authority is still servicing almost 44,000 homes, even without Gulfport, he said, and there are going to be glitches. He asks residents to be patient and to call the hotline at 228-701-9086 to speak to a representative of either of the companies or the Utility Authority.
“If there’s a problem we need to know about it,” he said.
Scharr said he believes all residents have received the new brown trash cans and should call if they didn’t. About 30 percent of the new recycling carts on wheels have not been delivered, he said, due to delayed production out of the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey. In the meantime, he said residents who still have a Waste Pro recycling can continue to use them.
“Right now we’re anticipating all the recycle carts will be delivered by the 10th of October,” he said.
Those who still have a Waste Pro garbage container can leave them by the side of the road and hope they are collected.