Monroe County Solid Waste Dept. reminds customers of guidelines

Monroe County led the area when its solid waste department began an automated garbage pickup program in 2009. Nearly four years in, department head Billy Williams admits seeing the benefits countywide, but it takes the public’s cooperation to help continue its success.
“When we started this program, we purchased 10,000 cans, but the ordinance states the can has to stay at that address. If a resident moves, we’re asking them to call our billing office to let us know. We’re just asking for the public’s help,” Williams said.
A global positioning system chip in each can matches it to the address, which is tracked by each of the three trucks and at the county’s landfill.
Williams asks residents to remember the key guidelines including placing the garbage can five feet from the road and if that’s not possible, Williams asks residents to use a ‘common sense’ approach to put the can in a location that is safe, stable and accessible. Garbage cans must also face the road to avoid damage to the lid. Garbage must be out by 7 a.m. the day of collection.
“Sometimes we may have a complication and the drivers may have to run the route differently. I also want to remind people we pick up garbage Tuesdays through Fridays for our residential accounts. If we miss a route due to a holiday, we’ll pick it up the following Monday,” Williams said.
All garbage needs to be in bags and several items including concrete, heavy metal objects, liquid waste and household hazardous waste are on the list of materials to not be placed in the cans. Large and bulky items like refrigerators can be picked up by the knuckle boom truck on a call-in basis.
Yard waste can’t be picked up by county sanitation trucks, but people can bring it to the landfill for disposal.
From the benefits standpoint, Williams said the automated system has helped give the county a cleaner image.
“We’ve eliminated all the trash bins people used to have. The board made an order all the old bins had to be gone within 30 days and we went through with the knuckle boom truck cleaning them up,” Williams said.
Areas that had garbage-lined rusty deep freezers serving as trash receptacles were replaced then with the brown 95 gallon garbage cans issued to each resident living on the county’s trash route. The cans’ capacity is designed to last a family of five people for a week, but Williams said anyone with an extra bag that may not fit in the garbage can is free to place it on the top.
Williams said several illegal dump sites have since been eliminated as well. From a safety angle, the automated system keeps sanitation employees from riding on the back of garbage trucks and out of the elements of bad weather.
“We’ve really boosted productivity too. We used to pick up 200 to 300 cans per day with the old trucks and now we can pick up between 400 and 600.
“I’ve had so many people thank me for our part in making the county more beautiful and we want the public to help us help them because we work for the county, but we still have to stay in our guidelines,” Williams said.
For a complete list of regulations of the Monroe County Solid Waste Department’s pickup, visit its website at http://monroecountyms.org/solid_waste.html.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.