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UTC staff recommend penalties for Waste Management missed pickups

Media Contact: (360) 664-1116 or media@utc.wa.gov
Docket Number: TG-210689 

Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) staff and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses a staff testimony that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.  

UTC staff recommend penalties for Waste Management missed pickups

LACEY, Wash. – Today, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission staff filed a complaint against Waste Management and recommend a penalty of up to $83,150 for repeatedly failing to pick up customers’ recycling and yard waste in Kitsap County. 

In a formal complaint filed with the commission, UTC staff recommend that state regulators assess $83,150 in penalties for 16,630 violations after the company failed to collect 14,725 Kitsap County customers’ yard waste and recycling this summer. 

The complaint will be scheduled for a hearing before the three-member commission. The commission is not bound by staff’s recommendation. 

Staff began their investigation into Waste Management’s business practices after receiving 56 customer complaints about the company missing repeated yard waste pickups in July, and recycling pickups in August.  

Waste Management cited inadequate staffing levels for the missed pickups and shared that they are taking steps to recruit qualified drivers. In their investigation, staff found Waste Management’s commission-approved tariff does not list driver shortage as an approved reason for missing service, such as unsafe weather, labor disputes, and declared public health emergencies. 

While the UTC is able to assess up to $1,000 per service violation, staff believe that the full penalty could create a financial hardship for the company, and that the recommended penalty will be significant enough incentive for Waste Management to avoid repeat violations in the future. 

Customers who would like to file a consumer complaint about their recycling or yard waste service can contact the UTC Consumer Protection Help Line by: 

Waste Management of Washington, Inc. provides solid waste collection services to over 270,000 customers across 16 Washington counties: Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, and Whatcom.   

The UTC regulates the rates and services of household goods movers; passenger transportation companies; investor-owned electric, natural gas, garbage, and water utilities; landline telecommunications companies; garbage haulers; commercial ferries; pipeline companies; marine pilotage; and a low-level radioactive waste repository.  


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Topic(s)
Garbage and Recycling
Consumer
Solid Waste Carriers