Roll-off dumpsters to help with debris in Groves

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

GROVES — A lot can be done when people come together for a common goal — just ask Suzanne Williamson.

Because of her persistence, questions and discussions there are now roll-off dumpsters scattered in flood affected areas of the city.

Williamson moved from Houston to Groves two years go and experienced different degrees of flooding before, during and after Tropical Storm Harvey. She woke up with a mission last week, to find out how to get all of the Harvey debris in neighborhoods picked up and improve drainage for the entire area.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“So I started calling the city, DD7 (Jefferson County Drainage District 7), and talking to people. I got a lot of information and decided to start a citizens effort to keep the city beautiful to move forward,” Williamson said of the Keep Groves Beautiful Facebook page.

Her actions were positively received by the city.

A roll-off dumpster in the Nottingham area of Groves appeared to be near full on Tuesday.
Mary Meaux/The News

Groves City Manager D. Sosa said Williamson brought the issue of Harvey debris to the city’s attention, but then came the issue of manpower and trucks. Normally the city has two or three trucks out which, under normal conditions, is enough to handle each zone or route. But with Harvey the need for debris pickup more than quadrupled and turned the city’s trash service upside down.

The meeting with Williamson and other department heads led to the placement of Republic Trash roll-off dumpsters. The company already works with the city’s Peace and Dignity Program, in which dumpsters are used by people tearing down dilapidated structures. Expanding the program to include providing 20 dumpsters was the answer.

The dumpsters are located throughout the Plaza Terrace/Nottingham area of the city, which saw the most flooding. A drive through the neighborhoods shows driveways with recreational vehicles and storage pods as well as intermittent piles of Harvey debris.

Groves resident Dino Noyola rakes debris from his yard in the Nottingham area of Groves. The city is providing roll-off dumpsters in flood affected areas.
Mary Meaux/The News

Over on Little John Lane, Dino Noyola was busy raking debris from her yard near the curb. Parked in his driveway was an RV.

He and his neighborhood received about three feet of water in their homes and repairs are staggered. Noyola is currently working 12-hour shifts, helps care for his 89-year-old father and is doing all of his own home repair work.

With a glance up and down his street he noted he had not seen anyone pick up their piles of debris and haul it down the block to the waiting dumpster.

Sosa said the city is aware there are some debris piles that are too big or heavy and homeowner may not be able to physically move to the dumpsters.

Grapple trucks are currently moving through the area picking up debris. The grapple trucks can also pack down the dumpsters and even put trash in them.

“If there are people with problems or issues or special needs we can put to use the grapple and can place the debris in the existing dumpsters,” Sosa said.

The cost for the dumpsters is being offset from savings from the city’s green waste collection. Sosa explained the city picks up and chips its green waste as opposed to paying for the waste to be disposed of at the Port Arthur city landfill.

Sosa is pleased to see a citizen step up to the plate and get involved.

“She called one day wanting to see what she could do to make a difference and I said, ‘Come to a meeting and give us constructive ideas,’ ” he said. “It’s been a high success. We have made available rolls of garbage bags at no cost to those in affected areas and she brings them out to them. She is acting as a liaison between city hall and the neighborhood on what’s going right and what’s not. She has also moved some of her efforts to drainage and has been a calming effect in a constructive way in communication and cooperation.”

Sosa said the dumpsters would be in the neighborhoods as long as there is a need. There are about 13 in use with the plan to place 20. After, the city will sit down and reevaluate and look at the progress. If the need is still there, the program will continue.

Williamson is glad to be part of the solution and hopes other residents will join in.

“If we don’t work together we’re going to be in a world of hurt,” she said, meaning that residents can’t continue pointing the finger at the city and the city can’t point fingers at DD7, which they are not doing. “Everybody has to put in the positive piece of the pie to get our city cleaned up and to make it better.”