Trash firm facing penalty

San Jose officials are threatening to withhold up to $10.8 million in payments from the city's largest garbage hauler, Norcal Waste Systems, alleging the company has failed to properly monitor the sorting of recycled glass.

The penalty -- which city officials say could likely be the largest-ever levied against a contractor -- comes months after the city council approved close to $12 million in additional payments to Norcal, something critics charged was little more than a gift to organized labor.The city's Department of Environmental Services says Norcal, which picks up residential garbage and recyclables for most of the city -- some 150,000 households -- has violated its contract because of the way its subcontractor sorted recyclable material from August 2003 until March of this year.Department officials contend that the subcontractor, California Waste Solutions, has processed glass taken from San Jose curbsides at facilities in Oakland or Union City instead of sorting the glass at California Waste Solutions' Timothy Drive site.The city's contract calls for Norcal to obtain the city's authorization to sort recyclables at an alternate location.

Department officials also claim that over a 1 1/2-year period, California Waste Solutions had co-mingled the glass with other glass from different sources, making it difficult to keep track of how much San Jose generated-glass is being recycled.

600450 Trash firm facing penalty

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