Earls says resident’s experience at transfer station not acceptable

Earls says resident’s experience at transfer station not acceptable

PAWTUCKET – Public Works Director Eric Earls says an incident involving a resident being turned away from the Blackstone Valley Regional Transfer Station on Grotto Avenue when he tried to dispose of a mattress last week was completely unacceptable.

According to a post from Fairlawn resident Tommy Sabin, he called the DPW ahead of time on June 16 to learn the correct procedure for dropping off a mattress. But he said he was turned away after being told the facility was “all full” of mattresses.

“I told the transfer station attendant that I had called the city to confirm this service was available to residents,” he posted. “She replied, and I directly quote, that ‘the city doesn’t know what goes on here.’”

Sabin said the employee then directed him to a mattress recycling company in West Warwick, “so we had no choice but to go there.”

On the way out of Grotto Avenue, he met another resident who was in the same predicament and who asked if he could follow him.

The bottom line, said Sabin, is that two residents, one of whom has to live with the “mess of a business in their backyard,” had to take an hour out of their day to accomplish a task that’s supposed to be a convenience.

Public Works Director Eric Earls said Monday that he was made aware of the issue through Facebook.

“There have been challenges with mattress collections amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the Department of Public Works has reached out to the vendor,” he said by email. “It has been determined that this constituent did have issues with mattress disposal. This is not acceptable and the DPW has taken responsibility for the oversight and implemented a policy that, going forward, ensures that this will not occur again.”

Earls added, “We apologize for the interruption in service and any inconvenience this may have caused.”

According to officials, the reason given to the residents for being turned away was that the dumpster that holds the mattresses was full.

Mattresses can be dropped off at the transfer station on the first Saturday of the month beginning in July. July’s free mattress drop off will occur on July 11 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

The DPW continues to work alongside the City Council through the request for proposals process for services related to the transfer station, said Earls. One response was received by the current vendor, Waste Connections Inc. City staffers have referred the proposal to the Purchasing Board for award, pending the negotiation of the final contract with WCI, which Councilors Terry Mercer and Tim Rudd will be involved in on the negotiation process.

“This is an important issue for the city of Pawtucket that has impacts on trash and recycling services for all residents, taxes for all taxpayers, and a number of quality of life matters for the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.