FORT KNOX, Ky. — Fort Knox’s trash issues started when on-post housing trash pickup abruptly stopped.
Officials from Knox Hills, the housing community serving Fort Knox, said trash collection under its previous contractor was set to end May 31, when a new contractor, Republic Services, was prepared to resume the task. So, when collection suddenly ended on May 25, residents and Knox Hills were left with no alternatives for nearly a week.
Knox Hills officials said residents had already been experiencing challenges with trash collection, which had led them to change contractors in the first place. The timing was made worse because Fort Knox had begun its peak permanent change of station season.
“Early in the transition and in the midst of PCS season, our previous trash provider stopped service unexpectedly, causing a number of delays in trash collection and higher than usual volumes of trash due to the unforeseen delays,” said Michelle Lassalle, director of Property Management for Knox Hills. “We completely recognized this was an inconvenience for our residents and worked round the clock with our new trash provider to catch up on trash collection in the community.
“Unfortunately, this was not a quick fix.”
Trash was beginning to pile up in some areas. As well, residents experienced confusion due to impacts on the daily pickup schedule early in the transition, said Lassalle.
What to do with bulk trash items is an annual issue during the summer months, as many Soldiers get ready to move to their next duty station. Those challenges exasperated the issue this year.
“We have also experienced instances where bulk trash is being placed out without being scheduled and in some cases the on-post dump is still being utilized for these bulk items, which are no longer permitted,” said Lassalle.
Prior to Republic taking the contract, Knox Hills had been receiving resident complaints about the trash services they were receiving.
“Previous feedback we received was primarily due to missed trash pickups,” said Lassalle. “Unfortunately, due to limited notification from the provider regarding delays in service, our Knox Hills teams were not always able to provide residents with timely information, which we always strive to do.”
She emphasized that those complaints led to the decision to seek out another contractor.
As Republic set up their blue carts, more confusion about whether to use the old green carts that had been left by the previous contractor or the new blue ones added to Knox Hills’ challenges. Along with those issues, residents were faced with updated trash collection guidelines that included proper placement of the carts so the trash trucks that are equipped with automatic arms can hoist and dump the contents, not blocking carts with vehicles, and moving the carts to the streets at the proper collection times.
Lassalle said they developed some quick solutions to all the difficulties and have been working diligently to get to the bottom of the trash issue.
“From the beginning of the transition, our Knox Hills team has been and continues to be committed to providing full transparency to our residents to help provide as smooth of a transition as possible and ensure we are addressing concerns in a timely manner,” said Lassalle.
One solution that Knox Hills is encouraging residents to take advantage of is filling and placing both blue carts out for trash pickup. Officials said this will help more quickly reduce the amount of trash that residents are dealing with. Lasalle is asking that residents ensure the carts are facing the correct way – the metal bar facing the road, which will put the wheels facing the residences. The cart lids must also close all the way: no trash protruding above the rim.
As for bulk trash, the same rules apply; residents must schedule for pickup of the bulk items. Lasalle said residents can request pickup of items twice a month: that amounts to four items per month. Residents are no longer authorized to utilize the dump on post.
Lasalle offered several ways for residents to communicate with Knox Hills about any issues they are having. These include direct communication through emailing their community offices. Those who don’t know their community office numbers can find them at www.knoxhills.com/contact. Another option is to email the dedicated point of contact for trash collection directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lasalle said while Knox Hills is working hard to provide residents the very best trash service available, they recognize that it takes a team effort to fully succeed.
“We are very optimistic that if we all work together,” said Lasalle, “this change will provide a new level of satisfaction for our residents.”