The Heap

Haulers Talk About Hurricane Sandy Cleanup

Since issuing our call last week for reports from waste handlers tackling the daunting task of operating in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we've gotten a few responses, which we have included below. We will continue to pass these (along with any photos or videos) along as we receive them.

On Friday Armand E. Lembo Jr., President of Newark, N.J.-based Lemcor Inc. wrote:

"I own a waste transfer station in Newark, N.J. and reside in Sea Girt, N.J., a beach community drastically effected by Sandy. My family evacuated our home after a power line landed on my wife's car, and then evacuated with the friends we were staying with to New York City. I have been commuting to my facility first from home then from NYC.

"Right now my staff and I are putting in 16- to 18-hour days and the waste volumes are indescribable. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is processing tonnage increase requests as fast as possible but they are working with a skeleton crew themselves. All facilities are beyond compliance at this point and we can only pray the regulators understand and are compassionate.

"The lack of cooperation by our neighbor Pennsylvania's regulators is disheartening. Yesterday a well respected long haul trucker was at a Pennsylvania landfill. His driver had both valid New Jersey and Pennsylvania stickers but no cab card. The vehicle was sent back to New Jersey. The inspectors were at the landfill checking vehicles. I understand rules are rules but as a Supreme Court justice once said, 'Rules are as significant as the situations that precipitated their inception/creation. There is a reason police and fire vehicles can exceed the speed limit during an emergency.' 

"Pennsylvania's regulators should be safeguarding against price gouging, not participating in it by using a tragedy as an enforcement opportunity. Legitimate licensed waste collectors, facility owners and transporters know how to clear the debris. The only blockade to us doing that as fast as possible is lack of flexibility by regulators and price gougers. Focus enforcement on the latter and let the good guys get this done."

Meanwhile, others offered resources to areas in need. Mark Friedline, president of Somerset, Pa.-based W W Friedline Inc., and Fred Grange, president of Corte Madera, Calif.-based Grange Debris Box & Wrecking Co. Inc., say they say they have equipment and manpower ready to roll. Friedline can be contacted at 814-445-2193 or [email protected]. Grange can be reached at 415-456-2712 or [email protected].

Finally, an anonymous Heap commenter summed up the situation thusly:

"the biggest issues are as follows
no fuel to run the trucks
no containers, no port no bookings"

We're continuing to collect comments, stories, photos and video from waste services personnel on the ground handling what Sandy left behind. Please share them by commenting here, contacting us via Facebook or Twitter, or emailing us.

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