‘It’s a disaster’: Dearborn Heights residents fed up with trash hauler as garbage piles up

One resident had to call authorities Tuesday after run-in with garbage truck driver

The Dearborn Heights community is ready to dump its new trash hauler just months into a new contract because of significant complaints. Neighbors say they’re frustrated and fed up as the city contemplates ditching its trash hauler, who’s only been on the job for three months. Once councilman compared services are compared to a burnt-out Ford Pinto and that was one of the nicer comparisons, but the chief operating officer of Priority Waste assured the council they’re on it and are taking necessary measures.

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. – The Dearborn Heights community is ready to dump its new trash hauler just three months into a new contract due to significant complaints.

Neighbors say they’re frustrated and fed up. During a city council meeting, one councilman compared the waste services to a burnt-out Ford Pinto, and that was one of the nicer comparisons.

The CEO of Priority Waste assured the council they’re on it, and are taking necessary measures.

“This trash has been like this for two weeks,” said resident Awadi El Awadi.

Residents in Dearborn Heights say that over the last three months, it has been a roll of the dice to see if Priority Waste will pick up trash, recyclables and yard waste.

“The trash is very bad,” Awadi said. “They don’t take (it) on time.”

City council members say they have been getting an earful.

“You can go through my phone and see the couple hundred that I’ve had in the last month, and emails and even phone calls on Friday nights, Saturday nights, Sunday nights at 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. telling me trash isn’t picked up,” said City Councilman Ray Muscat. “I’m to the point that I’m so frustrated, (though) not at the people calling me about the situation.”

Exasperated residents came out to address the council Tuesday night.

“This contract I voted yes on it when I was on the council,” said a male resident. “It’s a disaster.”

One resident said she had to call the police Tuesday after a run-in with a garbage truck driver.

“He went to dump our garbage, and a bag fell off the top,” said a female resident. “He started screaming, ‘You (expletives) should be shot, you’re stupid,’ and just crazy stuff like that.”

Priority Waste’s leadership team told the city they had removed the person in charge of Dearborn Heights pickup and promised fast improvements.

“I understand 100% the feelings of what this council has and the residents of Dearborn Heights,” said Priority Waste CEO Vincent Hoyumpa. “I am personally taking over all operations out of the Romulus yard, which handles not only Dearborn Heights but also the city of Taylor and Westland.”

The company anticipates being completely caught up by Saturday of this week. Still, council members are leery.

“When I deal with people, initially I give them an opportunity to give me assurances, but if it’s not happening, then those assurances don’t mean anything to me,” said Council President Dave Abdallah. “At the end of the day, it’s getting the job done, and right now, it’s not getting done, honestly.”


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.