In honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, officials with the sanitation department said it is implementing this program not only to save money, but also to improve the health and safety of its employees.
According to a news release, the pilot program will improve efficiencies while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. and the changes will make the service: “easier for residents, better for employees, cleaner for the community, greener for the environment and safer for all.”
Billy Malone, associate director of sanitation, said the department hosted 14 neighborhood meetings throughout the county to introduce the idea of the pilot program.
The pilot program will include residents in Dunwoody, Chamblee, Brookhaven, Lithonia and unincorporated DeKalb County. Those selected for the pilot program will receive a 65-gallon roll cart. Trash pickup for those residents in the pilot program will be collected on the same day as yard trimmings and recycling in separate containers.
Malone reiterated this is a three-month study, and once completed, the department will weigh the comments given from the participating households, but it will be up to the county commission on whether or not the county will adopt the program.
“We want to reduce work injuries,” said Malone. “Fifty percent of the injuries are back injuries. Also, we can’t continue at the same balance if we stay at twice a week garbage pickup.”
He added the department has not raised rates since 2006, and does not plan to, but believes they can sustain the current rates.
Along with the new larger gallon bins, the program will see three different vehicle types tested: the traditional rear loaders with three crew members used now by the department, low entry side loaders operated by a two member crew where the driver is on the right side and a collector is positioned along the side to deposit garbage on the side of the truck with the use of tippers, and fully automated vehicles operated by one person where the driver is on the right side and uses a mechanical arm to clasp the cart and deposit garbage into the truck.
Gordon Burkette, executive director of Keep DeKalb Beautiful, said this will also be a learning opportunity for the local schools to learn more about recycling and beautification of the county.
In a Kennesaw State University survey conducted last year that had more than 500 responses, the department found that 62 percent of those surveyed favored going to a once-a-week pickup schedule.
Malone said the department now collects 32-gallon bins twice a week, so the 65-gallon bin should hold a household for a once-a-week pickup.
Information: (404) 294-2980 or visit www.yourdekalb.com