City switches to automated trash collection

In some north Buffalo neighborhoods, a crop of large, blue, side-loading garbage cans have appeared.

The cans are the first of the new side-loading 64-gallon garbage cans that will be used with a new side-load, one-man sanitation truck.

The selected neighborhoods will be used to evaluate how long it takes the new side-load, one-man satiation truck to complete routes. Public works has delivered 195 of the new cans to certain Buffalo subdivisions.

Buffalo Ridge, Eagle Summit, North Ridge subdivision and North DeSmet neighborhoods will serve as the testing grounds for the new cans and truck, according to Public Works Director Les Hook.   

The new truck and cans are a curbside pickup system. The truck is equipped with a hydraulic loading arm that reaches out and picks up the cans.

According to a letter provided to residents along with their trash can, all trash must be in the can without any bags left on top of the lid or beside the bin. The bin is lifted and dumped into the truck without any assistance from a second sanitation worker. Bags that do not fit in the bin will not be picked up by Buffalo sanitation service.

The new sanitation system is the culmination of two years of work by Buffalo’s Public Works Department, city clerk-treasurer and City Council, according to Clerk-Treasurer Julie Silbernagel.

“We knew that there was going to be a change to the sanitation system,” she said. “We just didn’t know when.”

Once public works has an understanding of how long the routes take with the new city-issued trash cans, residents throughout the city should expect to receive new cans from the city.

Buffalo will continue to use a rear-loading truck on the downtown alleyway route and in the 4K subdivision on the southwest side of town due to tighter alleyways, low overhead power lines and steep roadways.

The move to a new self-loading garbage truck is part of a larger effort to modernize the city’s aging sanitation equipment.

In addition to the truck that will collect residential trash, the city also purchased a front-loading garbage truck for $258,765. That truck is primarily picking up commercial trash, according to Silbernagel.  

The rear-loading truck that is currently being operated has picked up trash in Buffalo for almost 30 years, well beyond the industry standard of 10 years of use, Hook said.

The city has put out and received a bid on a new rear-loading truck in July for approximately $183,000, according to Hook, who estimates that the truck may not be on the road until March 2020.

“It’s past time to replace that truck,” Silbernagel said.

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