By Keith S. Shikowitz
Porta–potties are seen many places, from parks to construction sites and sometimes roadside rest stops. Many people try to avoid using them if possible due to the smell.
The neighborhoods around Carol Avenue in West Haverstraw are finding out how impossible this is and are being stunk out by a porta-potty company called John to Go as they empty the potties into trucks.
“This is a waste hazard. They bring the potties to the site full and pump the waste into trucks in the middle of a residential area,” said a resident of North Wayne Avenue. “They’re in violation of a number of village and town ordinances, not the least of which is the noise regulations and the hours of operation.”
Fred Viohl, West Haverstraw Building Inspector, said at the Village Council meeting that the company and the landlord are facing fines for their actions and there are eviction proceedings filed in the Village Court.
According to the resident, they’re pumping any time beginning at 4:30 a.m. and even at 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. This resident has taken pictures and video of the activities in the area behind the residences. It shows the pumping being done into trucks that have a magnetic sign put over the name Premiere Grease on the truck passenger door.
“This puts a question as to the legality and safety of the transfer of the human waste. These Premiere Gas trucks may not be legally or structurally able to handle this waste,” the resident said. “I have seen them pumping the waste from the potties to a small truck, then into a bigger truck. This has to be in violation of a million things and it’s ruining our quality of life.”
“The smell lingers and becomes nauseating, especially when we are trying to eat,” he added.
“They knew that the government was closed on Sunday 11/11 and Monday 11/12 for Veterans’ Day. So, they were out there at 6:26 a.m. again in violation of hours of operation and noise laws,” the resident said with frustration evident in the speech. The resident has called the police while they were violating the law and still nothing has been done.
According to Cindy, a secretary at John to Go, the potties are cleaned and there is no smell.
When they pump them out and clean them, where is water going afterwards? At the Town of Haverstraw Board Meeting, Haverstraw Town Supervisor, Howard Phillips said, “It goes into the sewers and that’s not allowed either.” He added that the company is being fined for having many of their porta-potties stored in an area just outside of Haverstraw Bay Park.
West Haverstraw Mayor Robert D’Amelio, in attendance, stated that the landlord and the company are trying to negotiate to get them out within an appropriate time: “West Haverstraw is taking appropriate action, but the government must abide by the law.” According to Phillips and D’Amelio, this could take up to 30 days. If they have to go to court it could take 60–90 days.
One possible solution, D’Amelio mentioned, to get this moving, was that the landlord is willing to forgo back rent on the property for a promise to vacate the premises within a reasonable time. There are eviction proceedings going through the courts. Owner of the company, Abe Brewer has been contacted for an interview, but has yet to respond.