“We’ve been busy like hell just putting dumpsters down,” says Dominick Incantalupo, owner of M & M Sanitation Corp., in an interview.
M & M serves primarily commercial accounts in Manhattan and southern Brooklyn. Many of its customers are restaurants, and with the power outage and flooded basements there’s a great deal of spoiled food. “We were working with extra spotlights, just trying to do the best we can,” Incantalupo says.
The hauler has been able to maintain service without interruption and has been working nonstop for a week. “It’s just a challenge to keep working. It slows it down with the high demand for containers as people empty out their basements,” he says. “It is hard to keep up with.”
Disposal availability has been the biggest challenge. M& M is partners on a transfer station in the Bronx. But there’s been no disposal available in New Jersey, and no rail or incinerator waste service. “So it’s made it quite difficult,” Incantalupo says. “We’re just waiting for other facilities to come online but [traffic] lines have been incredible. That slows the whole process.”
Traffic along with securing diesel fuel the first four days after the storm was a challenge. Fuel finally has become available again.
Another problem has been people poaching waste containers for the scrap inside. He says the police have been preoccupied with bigger problems in the outer buroughs.
And it’s been a challenge for workers to get to work. “They’re doing the best they can,” Incantalupo says.
But otherwise the company itself has weathered the storm, only losing phone service. “I think we pulled through a lot better than a lot of companies did,” he says.
“I feel bad for my customers because the west side of Manhattan took on so much water. It went past 10th Avenue; that’s how far in it went in the Chelsea neighborhood.”
But the outer buroughs and Jersey shore really took the brunt of the storm, and Incantalupo feels for those residents and businesses. “It’s going to be pretty ugly for quite a while.”
And he fears the severe weather will continue to be a problem in the future, so his company will be preparing accordingly.
Incantalupo says he’s been dealing with extreme weather in the waste business for many years, but Superstorm Sandy made an impression. “This ain’t the first storm, but this is the worst one. I’ve never seen the river rise in Manhattan like this.”