Department of Health investigating trash in Orange County neighborhood


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health is investigating trash issues in an Orange County neighborhood.

On Monday, News 6 told you about trash lining the streets in a neighborhood because the company hired for trash collection was a no-show.

Now we’ve learned the company’s problems are widespread and even more communities are impacted.

Lourdes Ruggieri has a front-row seat to a show she’d rather not see.

“You get disappointed you know,” the 78-year-old said while sitting in her carport looking out at the trash.

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“You see all the trash outside there and nobody picks it up,” Ruggieri said. “They come when they feel like it,”

Trash is all over the Deerwood Mobile Home community in Orange County.

Ruggieri put her trash out Sunday night because pick-up is supposed to be Mondays and Thursdays, she said. Wednesday it was still sitting.

“It doesn’t look nice,” Ruggieri said. “I do my best to keep my house neat, to keep it clean.”

The same thing is happening in the Starlight Ranch Community on Pershing Avenue in Orange County.

The community contracts with Waste Pro.

After that report, News 6 asked viewers to let us know if this was happening in other neighborhoods.

We got emails from Volusia, Lake, Orange and St. Lucie counties about inconsistent trash pick-up from Waste Pro.

“Horrible,” “awful” and “a shame,” are some of the ways viewers described the situation.

One of those emails came from Patricia Agrillo who lives in another community, Fairways Country Club in Orange County.

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“We’ve had maggots,” Agrillo said. “We’ve had streets overlooked for two weeks at a time, and it’s just like piling over.”

Their Monday pick-up didn’t happen either.

In June, the Florida Department of Health opened an investigation following the Fairways complaint, and the Sanitary Nuisance Team “found the issue to be valid,” according to a report and an email from the office.

Michael Whissel also lives in the neighborhood.

“Just now, I went up to get my mail and there was a vulture eating out of somebody’s trash can,” Whissel said. “Maybe they should have had a lid on but the trash has been sitting out here for days.”

News 6 contacted Waste Pro and the company sent us the same statement it sent previously, claiming “supply chain issues” are “causing delays in our facilities receiving parts that are needed for our trucks to run safely and efficiently.”

A nasty problem in an Orange County neighborhood, where trash is littering the streets for days at a time because the company hired for trash collection is a no-show.

The company is also dealing with a “nationwide driver shortage,” according to the statement.

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The company is offering “increased wages, and recruitment and retention bonuses up to $3,000.00,” to try and hire and retain drivers, according to the statement.

Lake County administrators sent a bulletin to residents advising Waste Pro is experiencing “severe staffing shortages.”

“As a result of these issues, residents may experience collection issues,” according to the bulletin.

Residents are being asked to put their recycling in with their trash for the next 30 days or take it themselves to a Lake County convenience center.

“The hauler is being held accountable and will be fined for every route they do not collect,” according to the bulletin.

In Orange County residents like Barbara Sievert are losing patience.

“It’s been frustrating and then we get no answers,” Sievert said.

The manager of the community we highlighted Monday, Starlight Ranch sent a letter to residents, advising the community is severing ties with Waste Pro.

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“Unfortunately, our attempts to work with the company to improve service levels in the community have not been successful, so we are currently looking for a new vendor to service the property,” Mirta Perez wrote.

If the violations continue, the state Mobile Home Inspector could cite the community’s management, according to Kent Donahue, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

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