City of Shreveport sues six private waste companies for not using City-owned landfill

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Live Oak Environmental is one of the six private waste companies being sued by the City of Shreveport for not using the City-owned landfill in Keithville to deposit trash picked up inside the Shreveport City Limits. (Photo courtesy Live Oak Environmental)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The City of Shreveport on Thursday filed suit against six private waste companies that do business within the city because they say companies are not using the Woolworth Road Regional Solid Waste Facility in Keithville, which is owned by the City of Shreveport.

Defendants in the lawsuit include Live Oak Environmental, Waste Connections Bayou, Bayou Belle Waste, Louisiana Environmental Services, Get Rid of It America and Waste Options.

The lawsuit comes after two years of issues that have plagued the City’s Sanitation Department, which have included everything from pandemic shutdowns to equipment breakdowns, shortage of funds that resulted in a $7 fee for residential trash curbside pickup to a lack of employees.

Although the City of Shreveport was contacted regarding the lawsuit, its legal department refused to comment because it is pending. An outside attorney, Ken Antee, is representing the City in the suit.

In the lawsuit, the City claims the six companies are picking up trash and garbage inside Shreveport’s city limits, but are using other landfills rather than Shreveport’s which the lawsuit claims they are legally bound to do, and it asks the Court to make them stop.  

In addition, the City wants the Court to force each of the six companies to pay it $500 per day per truck for each time they picked up trash in Shreveport and took it to another landfill, and asks the Court to stop the defendants from destroying or deleting any documents pertaining to which landfills the defendants used, as well as weight tickets and invoices from those companies from Jan. 1, 2015 until the lawsuit is resolved.

The six defendants, the suit claims, began going to other landfills in 2015 and in 2019 the City of Shreveport “was forced to place a ‘Sanitation Fee’ on the citizens of Shreveport in the amount of $7 per month,” which the lawsuit claims is the fault of the defendants.

That $7 per month per household multiplied by Shreveport’s 63,000 water customers amounts to $5.5 million per year in revenue for the City’s Public Works Department, in addition to its portion of the fees from the Woolworth facility.

The suit claims a city ordinance provides that private waste companies pay $1,000 for a permit to pick up trash within the city limits, plus $250 per truck used to haul solid waste, and also requires trash picked up in Shreveport be taken to the Woolworth facility.  

With six defendants, the lawsuit has many moving parts and addresses each company individually, but while one page or less is devoted to five of the defendants, more than three pages are devoted to Live Oak Louisiana Environmental Services.

The City claims in 2016, Live Oak entered into a contract with Mundy Landfill, “for its own financial gain.”

Shreveport’s Woolworth Road facility, which is run by a private company, charges waste haulers $38.50 per ton of waste, while Mundy Sanitary Landfill, which is run by the DeSoto Parish Police Jury, charges $29 per ton of waste.

The fee paid to the private company that manages the Woolworth Road facility is unknown, but all the money paid to Mundy goes into De Soto Parish coffers.

The lawsuit claims that not only did Live Oak begin taking the waste it collects inside the city limits to Munday, but it also led other defendants named in the lawsuit to do the same.

In 2016, the suit says Live Oak entered into a contract with De Soto Parish specifically to “divert” waste streams, “including waste subject to the City of Shreveport’s Code of Ordinances and required to be disposed of at Woolworth Road Regional Solid Waste Facility (‘Woolworth’).

The initial hearing in the case is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. before Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman.

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