Orange Cove picks up new garbage collection contractor

City council selects Mid Valley Disposal over WM as new garbage collection service provider

Sandra Pursley, area director for WM, talks about the services WM would provide to Orange Cove as the city's trash collection contractor at the Orange Cove City Council meeting Feb. 28, 2024. The council chose local company Mid Valley Disposal as its preferred contractor. (Serena Bettis)
Serena Bettis
Published March 1, 2024  • 
11:00 am

ORANGE COVE – Locally-owned business Mid Valley Disposal will be taking over the solid waste collection services in Orange Cove once the city’s current contract with Peña’s Disposal Service expires this summer. 

The Orange Cove City Council unanimously selected Mid Valley Disposal as the city’s new contractor at the city council meeting on Feb. 28. Council members heard presentations from both Mid Valley Disposal and USA Waste of California, a WM (formerly Waste Management, Inc.) subsidiary, on the services and benefits they would provide to the city. 

“The goal of this solicitation was to find a highly qualified company who would … best serve the residents, businesses and interests of the city,” Dario Dominguez, assistant city manager and public works director, said. “Rates are important criteria, but the city reserves the right to select the service provider that represents the best qualifications, but not necessarily the lowest price.”

Orange Cove first opened up a Request for Proposal (RFP) for solid waste collection contractors on Nov. 13, 2023, and received four proposals from Mid Valley Disposal, USA Waste of California, Peña’s Disposal Service and Caglia Environmental. 

Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Dario Dominguez told the council that city staff conducted interviews with each company in January and felt that Mid Valley Disposal and WM were the most qualified and would offer the best service value. 

Now, the city will negotiate a contract with Mid Valley Disposal, which will be brought back to council for approval before services begin. That contract will include more details like residential garbage rates, the length of the contract and other services Mid Valley Disposal will provide to Orange Cove. 

Each company briefly presented their proposals at the meeting and representatives then answered questions from council members about customer service, community involvement, dump days, illegal dumping and recycling education. 

Joseph Kalpakoff, president and CEO of Mid Valley Disposal, and Sandra Pursley, area director for WM, provided similar answers on nearly all topics and emphasized that they would be willing to work with the city to provide custom solutions to resident needs. 

“What’s unique about our company is that number one, we’re family-owned, we’re located here, but we’re vertically integrated as well,” Kalpakoff said. “What that means is we not only provide the collection to the city services … we control where we collect the trash, where the trash goes (and) ultimately we control the rates to the city.” 

Pursley said that WM is able to keep its rates lower because it has local transfer and organics facilities and it also owns a landfill in the Valley. She acknowledged that while WM is not a locally-owned company, it can have the feel of being a local company with national resources. 

“(Mid Valley Disposal is) local, but we’re local,” Pursley said. “We’re a national company, we are a corporation — that’s the big green and gold gorilla in the room — but these are local people, and we live here and … we pride ourselves on being part of the fabric of the communities that we serve.”  

Both companies said they would be providing regular trash services to residents and businesses, and they have systems in place to identify and assist residents who may not be able to put their trash bins out on the corner every week. 

Council members expressed concerns about community dumping days and how many members of the Orange Cove community may not be able to make it to a dump day because of their working hours. 

Kalpakoff and Pursley said they’d be happy to determine with the city what days would be best to hold those events and they said they try not to turn people away from those events because they do not want garbage dumped illegally.

Both also said their trucks are equipped with cameras for driver safety and customer satisfaction and they pride themselves on fast response times to customer calls and complaints. 

Orange Cove City Council members were also interested in learning more about what the companies would provide for residents that goes above and beyond the basic duties of their services.

Mid Valley Disposal and WM said they have college scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors in the communities they serve, and WM also has what Pursley called a “robust” internship program. Each company agreed in their proposals to provide free portable toilets for city events as well.

One of the main reasons the city opened up RFPs for these services was to ensure compliance with new state regulations, which Kalpakoff and Pursley said their companies have already achieved. Both companies also have education and outreach strategies in place to teach residents about the new regulations, and they are able to provide that information in both English and Spanish. 

Ultimately, council members voted to select Mid Valley Disposal as their preferred contractor. Mayor Pro Tem Gilbert Garcia said he liked the “local feel” from Mid Valley Disposal, but council members did not discuss any further reasoning on their decision. 

“You’re both good, you really are,” Garcia said. “It’s tough, it’s a tough decision to make … it’s like picking a beauty queen.” 

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter