Garbage has been piled several feet high for more than a week at the Palmetto Trace Apartments, creating a stinky situation that is only now potentially getting resolved days after the complex’s garbage compactor broke down.
This week, two small children were playing within feet of the garbage pile as flies thickened the air above a growing stench. Maggots were spilling out of several bags opened by what some concerned residents and neighbors say is an attraction for wildlife such as raccoons, feral cats and even bats feasting on the garbage at night.
The stench can be detected from dozens of feet away, and residents are concerned about the developing health hazard for the complex’s 196 units.
With the trash container not being emptied, it was unable to hold the Christmas holiday waste.
Kathy Riley, Palmetto code enforcement officer
Raquel Almodovar, assistant property manager, blamed the city and Waste Management for failing to act quickly enough on the broken compactor, which broke more than a week ago.
“The problem is that this happened during the holidays and the city is way behind,” said Almodovar, who was quick to show a recent chain of emails between the complex, Waste Management and the city.
But Almodovar didn’t show an email from code enforcement officer Kathy Riley, who pointed out that the compactor had broken down before a Dec. 20 communication with the city encouraging the complex to fix the compactor as soon as possible. In the email, Riley wrote that the complex needed to call Waste Management to have the existing garbage picked up before the holidays arrived.
“Unfortunately, no call was made for pickup of the container,” Riley said. “With the trash container not being emptied, it was unable to hold the Christmas holiday waste.”
Amy Boyson, Waste Management community affairs manager, said the compactor is “customer owned and the city is coordinating with the property manager, encouraging that the compactor is fixed as soon as possible.”
We are working to clean up the property.
Amy Boyson, Waste Management community affairs manager
In the meantime, Waste Management is trying to keep up with the garbage flow, dropping off temporary dumpsters that were quickly overwhelmed. Boyson said Waste Management was going to drop a 30-yard container on Wednesday and would make two pickups throughout the day and again on Thursday.
But the mountain of existing trash must be removed and the city is putting that responsibility on the apartment complex management, “to clear a path for removal and replacement of the trash containers,” according to Riley’s email.
Boyson said Waste Management is working with the city to ensure the complex is doing what it needs it to resolve the situation, but that in the meantime, “We are working to clean up the property,” she said.