In response to a significant drop-off in reliable trash collection service, the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and American Disposal Services, Inc., (ADS) have established a plan to resolve the significant volume of service-related complaints DPWES has received from ADS customers. Complaints of missed collections have been received from individual homeowners and from homeowner associations representing thousands of residents. ADS acknowledges it has been unable to consistently meet the weekly collection requirement largely due to problems with hiring and retaining operations personnel.
Since the number of complaints began to surge earlier this year, DPWES and ADS have discussed the service reliability and quality issues, and ADS’ plans to recover and restore service to the minimum requirements of county code (a minimum of once-weekly collection of refuse, recyclables, and yard waste).
Effective Oct. 4, DPWES and ADS entered into a consent agreement that, among other things, set forth a legally-enforceable Recovery Plan that includes:
Posting job advertisements at a minimum of 50 relevant outlets, including social media, and staging quarterly local job fairs.
Offering pre-paid tuition for CDL training (driver shortages are a significant factor in ADS’ hiring struggles).
Hiring additional drivers every week until the service problems are resolved, providing monthly written reports to DPWES on progress.
Increasing the starting wage of drivers by at least 20 percent and collection crews by at least 10 percent.
Retaining seven additional customer service personnel.
Establishing a service quality goal and lead measures/metrics to demonstrate and maintain progress.
Establishing a defined credit process for residential customers to cover all missed collections, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
ADS must also provide DPWES with written daily, weekly, and monthly status reports on missed and rescheduled collections, and the firm’s management is required to attend weekly meetings with DPWES enforcement personnel to review progress on the Recovery Plan.
It is anticipated that, by Dec. 31, ADS will have made the necessary modifications and notifications to customers for the changes in collection schedule/frequency that are necessary to restore quality service to its customers. ADS reports that every residential customer will be affected by these schedule modifications. By this same date, ADS must maintain personnel and equipment to adequately serve its existing Fairfax County customer base, and failure to collect properly set-out refuse, yard waste, and recyclables on a weekly basis and/or failure to complete the above changes timely will result in the application of financial penalties each day until the overdue items are completed.
Residents wishing to know more about the ADS Recovery Plan change (or about any other aspect of the County’s solid waste management system) should contact DPWES’ Solid Waste Management Program at 703-324-5230 or via email to email@example.com.