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Partly Cloudy,43°
Friday, October 31, 2014
No trash talk here in the Five Towns
Residents and officials praise S.D. 1’s storm cleanup
Courtesy Sanitary District No. 1
Since Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29, Sanitary District No. 1 has picked up more than 15 million pounds of storm debris from the Five Towns, compared with 1.2 million pounds in the same time period in 2011.

At a Lawrence Association meeting back in November 2011, nearly 100 Five Towns residents complained about the lack of service and attentiveness from Sanitary District No. 1, which picks up trash and recyclables throughout the community.

What a difference a year makes.

At a Village of Lawrence meeting on Nov. 15, 2012, Sanitary Commissioner James Vilardi received sustained applause from community members for the work sanitary district employees have done since Hurricane Sandy.

They have removed more than 15 million pounds of storm debris since Nov. 1, compared with 1.2 million pounds during November and December of 2011. The refuse is taken to the district’s facility on Bay Boulevard in Lawrence, and then trucked to Covanta Energy in Westbury. “It’s been a 24-hour operation,” said the district’s deputy superintendent, George Pappas. “We’ve made six, seven or eight trips down the same block to make sure we took everything.”

Hewlett Harbor Mayor Mark Weiss said that despite complaints about Sanitary District No. 1 in the past, residents have praised its efforts post-Sandy.

“It’s an incredible feat to have a 180-degree turn-around,” Weiss said. “It’s not an easy job, and there’s nothing glamorous about what these guys do, but they gave people a sense that they were being helped and distinguished themselves in this storm. We were thrilled with the approach they took.”

The district’s management met on Oct. 31, then employees reported to work the next day to resume regular garbage pickups as well as storm debris removal. “At our staff meeting, we discussed how important it is to let the residents know that we’ll pick up all of their debris,” Pappas said. “And we’re still assisting residents to this day.”

About a dozen of the 70 employees who pick up garbage had their homes damaged by Sandy, Pappas said.

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