Garbage and trash collections in St. Martin start in May

Residents in rural St. Martin Parish will be required to pay for garbage and trash service in a change scheduled to go into effect by May.

The rural areas of the parish also will see a new automated pick-up system that requires residents to use 96-gallon roll carts that will be provided by garbage contractor Waste Management, Parish President Guy Cormier said.

He said Waste Management is coordinating the delivery of the new carts and the switch is scheduled to take place before May 1.

“We are going to do a lot of public awareness between now and then,” Cormier said.

Cormier said the majority of rural residents already have voluntary service through Waste Management and the only change for established customers will be the new 96-gallon carts.

But the new mandatory service will hopefully bring in a small contingent of residents who are now burning or burying their trash, tossing it into Bayou Teche or leaving it in the dumpsters of local businesses, Cormier said.

“We are hoping this program definitely reduces the amount of waste we see,” he said.

Cormier said the parish has long been considering a mandatory requirement for trash service and that St. Martin Parish was the only parish in the area where rural service remained voluntary.

“Every parish and every municipality in Acadiana has mandatory garbage service,” Cormier said.

He said the switch, approved by the St. Martin Parish Council last year, was prompted in part by the prospects of a garbage rate hike for established customers who had been paying voluntarily.

“The prices were going to go up,” Cormier said.

Changing to a mandatory service with automated pickup will keep the same basic rates that rural residents are now paying, Cormier said.

Residential trash service for the rural areas of upper St. Martin Parish will be $15.86 a month for once-a-week trash pickup, once-a-month recycling and twice-a-month pickup of white goods, yard debris and other bulky waste.

Residents in lower St. Martin Parish, an area geographically separated by a portion of Iberia Parish, will pay $17.77 a month for twice-a-week trash service, once-a-month recycling and twice-a-month pickup of bulky waste.

Cormier said the rate for lower St. Martin Parish is higher because that area will receive twice-a-week service under a contract that will “piggyback” on the garbage contract in neighboring Assumption Parish.

The new law for mandatory trash service imposes a $300 fine for residents who fail to pay the bill from the parish’s garbage contractor.

Cormier said one exception to the new law will be for rural residents who own a business and deposit their trash there.

“We are not going to charge them a residential fee if they are paying a commercial fee,” he said.

The change does not affect residents in any of the parish’s municipalities, where garbage service is already mandatory.