BEGGS — Automated curbside residential garbage collection begins April 27 in St. Landry Parish, said Katry Martin, solid waste landfill executive director.
Martin said the parish’s approximately 35,000 households will receive without cost one bin for each collection site beginning April 23.
Lee Younge, site manager for Progressive Waste Solutions, which has the residential garbage contract for in St. Landry, said the automated system will provide a safer way to provide collection.
Younge noted the incident on Dec. 9, 2013, when a temporary employee hired by Progressive was killed in Eunice at 5:30 a.m. when a motorist ran into the worker, who was retrieving garbage on the side of a roadway.
“The driver of the vehicle passed out while on the way to dialysis and struck our worker. It was a tragic and unfortunate incident,” Younge said.
Martin said the new system, which was demonstrated by Younge on Monday to members of the parish Solid Waste Commission, also allows Progressive to save on personnel costs.
“The collections will no longer be loaded by individuals riding on the back of trucks. Everything will be done by one person who stays inside and drives and operates the loading system,” Martin said.
The new collection method is part of a five-year extension of Progressive’s $0.8 million contract signed several months ago with the commission, Martin said.
The original contract was scheduled to expire in 2017.
Martin said the new contract does not contain any additional costs for the commission.
Progressive, Martin said, has purchased 10 new garbage trucks which will operate on compressed natural gas generated by refuse from the landfill.
Martin estimates the commission will sell the gas to Progressive for between $1.85 and $2.25 a gallon.
“We’re estimating that the trucks will use 150,000 gallons per year. The trucks will drive up to the landfill with the garbage and while they are (there), they will fill up the trucks with the natural gas,” Martin said.
Young said each of the new Mack trucks purchased by Progressive costs $300,000.
“They will hold 28 yards (of garbage) each. The carts provided to each household will hold 200 pounds of waste, or 96 gallons,” Younge said.
Martin said the new bins also will help eliminate the problem of having animals tear open garbage bags and spread the contents on the roadsides.
The commission, Martin said, has routinely received complaints about litter from torn garbage bags sitting on the side of the road.
Customers, Martin said, will still be able to place their large items on the side of the road as in the past.
“Large items will still be picked up. The bins or carts will be used for the smaller items,” Martin said.
Change in the collection process was discussed with the nine-member commission with little opposition, Martin said.
“There were really no objections. Some of (the commissioners) thought we should maybe wait a little longer,” Martin said.
Martin said the new system does not affect the number of collections made daily by Progressive.
In St. Landry, garbage in municipalities is picked up twice a week. In the rural areas, collections are made once weekly.
“We not changing anything except the method,” Martin said.
Young said the carts will be delivered to households beginning April 23.
Customers will be notified by fliers, mail and news media, said Martin.