DumpPMUA's FactCheck to PMUA's notion that other companies are not cost effective. PMUA statements as found on their website are in red; DumpPMUA's responses are in blue.


Is PMUA still more cost effective? In economic times such as these, people are searching for ways to save money and cut expenses. Rate increases are never idealistic, and for both business and consumer it’s common practice to seek out better deals when our current service providers no longer offer us advantages of savings and/or quality above their competition. Within the city there are several companies providing similar waste management services such as ours; at first glance when comparing PMUA service rates to that of a private hauler, it would appear that we are not as cost competitive. However, often overlooked is that PMUA service packages are “all inclusive” and covers much more than the collection and disposal of your garbage, recyclables, and bulky waste. No other municipality alike offers the scope of comprehensive services, outreach and overall community investment as the PMUA. This is not necessarily the case if you use a private hauler.


Contrary to PMUA management, PMUA is currently not more cost effective. Plainfield residents can contract with alternative solid waste providers and see annual savings of $96-$125. Of course, PMUA will say that those rates don't include bulky waste material. They are correct to a certain extent. Most of the providers we have spoken with will allow customers to put some of that bulky waste material out for collection throughout the year rather than in two pickups which need to be scheduled six weeks earlier with PMUA. Those with mutli-family dwellings will see more significant savings using alternate waste management services.


Town by Town - Solid Waste

Clark - $31.50 per month

Cranford - $38.50 per month (includes town mandated backyard service fee)

Fanwood - $31.50 per month

Mountainside - $31.50 per month

Scotch Plains - $31.50 per month

Westfield - $39.00 per month (includes town mandated backyard service fee)


According to PMUA, Plainfield can't compare itself with the towns listed above.

from pmua website

We are not exactly sure what Mr. Watson meant.



Shared Services entails downtown street sweeping, waste collection for public receptacles, and the preservation of other public areas such as parks, playgrounds and municipal facilities. It also provides services for Health Department and Cooperative Neighborhood Litter Abatement. These services provided by the PMUA, benefit the entire community and are already factored into your total PMUA quarterly bill.


PMUA is correct in its assertion that shared services entails benefits to the entire community. What they don't tell you is that some businesses do not contract with PMUA for solid waste services. They also can't point to any documentation which allows for them to bill residents for shared services. They didn't tell residents that they were paying this fee as part of their solid waste for the last five years. This means that over the last eight years (2001-2008), residents have paid over $1400 to the PMUA for shared services. Collectively, residents have paid over $16,800,000 (12,000 residents X $1400 which is a very conservative estimate) for the upkeep of these shared areas. This is in addition to the $1.2 million per year that the City of Plainfield sends PMUA for its "Municipal Solid Waste Contribution." What are taxes for? Homeowners of multi-family dwellings have paid even more for shared services.


All Plainfield homeowners are required to pay a Shared Services fee which support the costs incurred to provide these services. As a Plainfield property owner and beneficiary of the shared public services provided by the PMUA, you are still billed for Sanitary Sewer and Shared Services even if you do not utilize the full scope of our solid waste management services. Understanding this, Plainfield homeowners either contracting or considering a private hauler should take into account that while another hauler may quote a lower price for waste collection and disposal, it does not factor in the cost for Shared Services. So are you really paying less by opting out?


We are not sure if it is legal but it is 100% accurate. Currently, all homeowners must pay shared services even if they choose another hauler. Residents must question their elected officials about the legality of shared services being billed by PMUA. A lawsuit against PMUA about paying for solid waste that is not generated on our property has been filed. Click here to read the statute regarding solid waste charges. Even with this bogus charge homeowners can still pay less if they opt-out! Click here to see DumpPMUA's analysis.


Private haulers also have the luxury of being selective, which can often translate to more stringency and less accommodation to the consumer. Issues regarding improper disposal, missed pick-ups, contaminated waste and recycling, and other compliance violations can easily result in the hauler refusing to collect the waste. With PMUA, collection is guaranteed. We aim to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of our customers and continue providing quality comprehensive solid waste and sanitary sewer services to ensure a clean and environmentally safe quality of life.


Talk about less accommodation to the consumer...PMUA charges $30 if you have an extra bag of garbage, you leave the lid open, or the wind blows it open. They will also kindly take your empty bin back to the side or rear of your house for a charge of $10. PMUA is so flexible that your collection is guaranteed - you'll just get the expensive bill with pictures in the mail! Private haulers are subject to regulatory oversight. They can't just raise rates whenever they want. Click here to see the regulations that govern private haulers.


Community and human capital investment is of utmost concern to the PMUA. Plainfield residents comprise approximately 95% of our total personnel, and many second chance citizens have found opportunity and acceptance with us. We’ve invested several million dollars into the City’s sanitary sewer system and our solid waste infrastructure; employees receive ongoing training and education to develop and enhance their skills, contributing to a more productive society and helping realize our vision and commitment to the residents of the City of Plainfield.


We are extremely happy that PMUA employs many Plainfield residents. The employees do a fine job, except for the occasional unprofessional conduct of some office personnel. Our issue is not with the rank and file but with the lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability of the PMUA executives and Board of Commissioners. PMUA must further realize that their vision and commitment to residents must be balanced with competitive rates.


Click here to see a PDF of the "Is PMUA Still Cost Effective?"