Trash piling up at Fort Hunter Liggett, contract issues

August 27, 2023


Household trash is piling up at an Army base on the south side of Monterey County after the base contracted with a garbage company that does not have the equipment needed to remove the rubbish.

Hundreds of people who live at Fort Hunter Liggett are now tossing their trash bags in the tennis courts while base administrators remain mum on what it is doing with the trash created by the troops temporarily training at the base. About a decade ago, when this last occurred, animals scattered trash around the base leading to a smelly health hazard.

As is standard practice every five years, in July base officials asked garbage companies to bid on its contract. On July 25, the base awarded the contract to the lowest bidder without first checking that the company had the equipment needed to do the job.

Five years earlier, the base awarded the contract to Mid State Solid Waste and Recycling in Templeton after inspecting the companies trucks, trash containers and employee records. In 2023, Mid State again bid the job, but lost out to Zero Waste Solutions.

On Aug. 1, Mid State removed their trash cans and dumpsters from the base.

Zero Waste Solutions then asked Mid State and several other companies to subcontract the job, which the companies declined even though Zero Waste Solutions explained they were not planning to provide individual containers to each of the more than 80 housing units. Instead, they planned to provide large roll off shared dumpsters.

Mid State then filed a formal protest, as the award winner was not offering the same scope of work — individual trashcans.

Since Aug. 1, no one is picking up the trash.

Base officials are working for a “swift resolution” to the disruption in trash service, according to a press release.

“Mitigations are in place for residents and tenant activities to bring their refuse to a centrally located and secure area for collection,” according to the press release. “To date, there has been no impact to operations, training, or health and welfare of the civilians and military members who live and work on the installation.”

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They should hire Mid State to keep picking up the trash until Zero Waste Solutions can perform the service and take the funds out of their contract amount!!!

Every government contract I’ve been party to allows that!

It’s what happens when always going with the lowest bidder. Stupid concept as you always get what you pay for.

Our government is beyond help and always has been. Idiots!

How should the government/military handled the bidding process? Easy to say it was stupid, how about a solution?


They have qualified, [well, supposed to be qualified], procurement people who work for the military at HL. Those are they who, while going through the bidding process [3 or more], are supposed to have all of the info required from the bidding agency at their disposal [no pun intended], in order to make the final decision about who gets the contract.

To realize after the fact that the company “does not have the equipment needed to remove the rubbish”, should never have happened, and that the process was flawed.


Well, if the Request for Proposals (RFP) is structured properly, it would indicate that the contract will go to “the lowest responsible bidder.” The lowest RESPONSIBLE bidder.

Combat ready means get ready convert buildings into a garbage piles by drone delivered missile. I know of no garbage service in a war zone, the solution could be piles of garbage and stench, not a beautiful country club. The Palisades (within the head water of the Nacimiento River) is absolutely spectacular. Hearst should have kept this land and offered the Military something instead this multi-faceted property worthy of a treasured National Park.

Not sure if you are serious or not, but I will assume the former. Little late for a solution now. We should be able to expect “idiots” (to quote JCILOALL) to do their jobs, which includes knowing how to do their jobs.

There should have been a DETAILED bid package which specified exactly what was required of the successful bidder (individual containers, dumpsters, quantity and size of each, frequency of pick-up, and numerous other details of the contract). Among these details there should have been a requirement for the successful bidder to provide a performance bond of at least 100% of the bid prior to signing a contract. Obviously one or more of these things were missing or inadequate. If there had been a DETAILED bid package, all bidders would have been bidding on the same scope of work, and there wouldn’t be any “not planning to provide individual containers” bickering after the fact. If there had been a performance bond, the government could turn to the bidder’s bonding company to have the work done.

It sounds like the quartermaster (or whatever they call their department that procures goods and services) just called a few solid waste providers and said what do you think it would cost to pick up garbage at the base. I think the least we can expect from government procurers of stuff is that they know how to precure.

I am retired now, but I have many stories about stupid things the government did related to purchasing from when I was in business. At least I think it was stupidity. Stupid and corrupt often look the same to an outside observer. Maybe the purchasing agent was the bidder’s brother-in-law.

More likely this is what happens when you have a overpaid entrenched government bueracrat that knows no matter how poor of a job they do it is unlikely they would ever get fired or have any real consequences, and that its just easier to pick the lowest bid without taking any effort to make sure all bids are actually covering the same details and are what is required for the situation.