Whitemarsh’s Board of Supervisors address issues with trash collection

There has been an ongoing issue with the collection of trash, recycling, and yard waste in Whitemarsh Township involving the township’s service provide J. P. Mascaro. It has gotten worse during the pandemic.

Below is a statement made by Whitemarsh Township’s Board of Supervisors on the issue.

The Township understands the frustration of residents regarding the performance of J.P. Mascaro & Sons. We are equally frustrated with the service issues and are disappointed by Mascaro’s response. We have made our concerns known to the management at Mascaro as we have worked to get the service that the contract provides for and that residents deserve. 

On June 26, our solicitor wrote to Mascaro about the “unacceptable service.” In that letter, the Township has identified a lack of consistent supervision and insufficient resources as areas of serious concern. We received a response from Mascaro on July 6. Both letters can be found on our website. 

We are also aware that Pat Mascaro yesterday posted a message to communities served by the company. In that, he said it would take 30 to 45 days to implement changes to “restore the necessary consistency” to collection operations. Mr. Mascaro apologized for the inconvenience and asked for patience. 

This afternoon, the Township received a similar letter from Mr. Mascaro that reiterated a need for 30 to 45 days to address service issues. The Township is willing to give the company that time to resolve its lack of performance. In the meantime, the Township will continue its monitoring of service and stay in regular contact with Mascaro.

Below is the Facebook post made by Mascaro referenced in the above statement.

Our service level has suffered recently due to COVID-19. I underestimated the business impact of this virus thinking our company could continue collections in a normal manner. I learned the hard way the negative impacts of the virus on our industry. Our competitors chose to eliminate the collection of yard waste and bulk materials during March of this year. Additionally, they imposed regulations insisting all waste be bagged and placed inside the container. In the spirit of wanting not to limit our customers, we maintained our regular collection practices not realizing the potential devasting impact of the virus.

We learned in a hurry that the “stay at home” directives increased waste loads 20 to 30%. Additionally, people used the stay at home time to clean sheds, basements and attics and general yard cleanups. Many landscape projects typically done by third party contractors were done by the homeowners and even storm debris cleanups were also done by the homeowners. This reality has severely taxed our equipment and the men and women that operate it.

Compounding the problem was the health aspects of COVID-19. Each employee testing positive and coming in contact with many other employees forced these employees to quarantine for 14-day intervals. Additionally, civil unrest forced the closure and/or altering of public transportation eliminating many employees sole means of getting to work. Lastly, the mandated “wearing of mask order” has created much “concern” for our workers on the back of the trucks unable to perform the task necessary wearing a mask and actually fearing for their health. This reality has forced many employees to choose to stay at home and collect the government subsidy.

You should be aware that we attempted to be proactive with the virus and be protective of our people. We spent $150,000 in protective gear and hired third party contractors to assure proper sanitation at our facilities. We spent $140,000 on individual lunches for our personnel over a six-week period of time to allow them to not have to stop on route to eat and place themselves in a position of unnecessary exposure. In an effort to lessen the workload of the regular crews, we have brought in crews from our other divisions to assist and have worked throughout the evenings as well as Saturday, Sundays and holidays.

Despite this overwhelming commitment of time, energy and money, it is my belief it will take our company 30 to 45 days to implement the necessary changes to deal with the “new normal” and restore the necessary consistency to our collection operations. I apologize for any inconvenience you may have encountered. I respectfully ask for your continued patience during this period of time, and I thank you for allowing me to express myself.

Pasquale N. Mascaro Sr.

You can view the letter sent by Whitemarsh Township to Mascaro here.

You can view the letter sent by Mascaro to the township here.

Photo: J.P. Mascaro