Nine communities on the North Shore are struggling to figure out who will pick up the garbage after getting word their provider is canceling the contracts.
"If trash piles up you can also get other critters, rats and rodents, and those kinds of things," said Manchester-by-the-Sea resident Sara Deoreo, one of many people nervous about what's to come.
Town officials from Hamilton to Manchester-by-the-Sea and other communities on the North Shore are feverishly looking for answers.
"Scary, frustrating, a bit of a panic," said Carol Murray, the director of public works for Manchester-by-the-Sea. "So we're scrambling now to say what do we do next Tuesday, when it's trash and recycling and compost, so we're making phone calls."
Murray, along with several municipal leaders who spoke with necn Wednesday, said she got a phone call from Hiltz Waste Disposal of Gloucester that the company will no longer be picking up trash effective immediately.
"They were very open and honest and said it's just gotten to the point where we can no longer go on, we apologize but we're going to have to park the trucks, and they're going to stay parked," said Murray.
Several towns got the same call, and town leaders told necn they are now desperately working to find new trash hauling companies to do the job.
Some have already done so, others will need to find a new company fast.
They were originally told weeks ago that service would end September 30, but then the sudden phone call this morning.
Residents hope trash won't be piling up in the streets.
"We have to have time to plan on what we're going to do with all our trash," said Jen Glass of Manchester-by-the-Sea. "Because not everybody has a car that they can take to the dump."
Not every community even has a dump.
Hiltz Waste Disposal issued a statement Thursday explaining its decision to stop providing service to the nine towns.
"The decision was made after efforts to continue Hiltz Disposal's residential services proved economically unfeasible for the company. Deborah Hiltz, president of the family-owned business, called the decision 'difficult but necessary for the continued viability of the company,' and said Hiltz Disposal was doing everything in its power to ensure that its residential customers and staff are taken care of during the transition period," the company said in the statement.
Some town officials worry this could become a public health issue if contracts with new trash companies are not nailed down soon.
Communities impacted by the canceled contracts include Hamilton, Wenham, Marblehead, Wakefield, Stoneham, Groveland, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester and Swampscott.