PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 7, 2014

PN council to talk trash, garbage

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — Port Neches City Council will be doing some trash talking, and some garbage talking, at the upcoming meeting on Thursday.

The city currently uses rear loader trucks to collect garbage and non-bulk material twice a week and larger accumulations of trash and green waste are picked up once a week using a grapple truck.

At the 4 p.m. meeting on Thursday at city hall council members will discuss whether this method or another is the best for the city.

Port Neches is the only local municipality to still use rear loader trucks; that is trucks where employees get out and toss the garbage or trash into the rear of the vehicle. City Manager Andrè Wimer said several councilmembers inquired into the system currently used by the city to collect garbage and trash as opposed to some systems used by neighboring communities. The topic is for discussion only.

“The intent of this agenda item is to provide basic information regarding this matter, identify an array of issues relative to the potential change in operations and determine if the city council has any interest in further researching/analyzing possible solid waste collection alternatives,” Wimer said in a document included with the agenda. “Should the city council wish to further review this topic, I anticipate a multi-month process to allow for adequate staff review, city council discussion and citizen input/comments.”

The city of Nederland was the first municipality in the State of Texas that moved to the automated system back in 1983, Groves City Manager D. Sosa, who previously served as city manager in Nederland, said.

Chris Duque, Nederland’s current city manager, said he believes the system has worked well for the city. While the automated system takes less employees to operate there are other considerations associated with the system.

“Maintenance is always an issue with these trucks, he arm has to be well maintained. It’s part of our employees day,” Duque said. “The do maintenance before going home and in the morning to make sure it is good to go before they set off to work.”

The City of Groves switched to the automated system in 2000.

“We’re unique in the fact we actually have a grapple truck pick-up trash the same day as garbage. One garbage and one trash pick-up once a week, at the same time. It’s been successful,” Sosa said.

Groves also has another system in place for green waste. Residents are asked to separate trash from green waste and a truck moves through the city to collect the items.

“It’s lowered our costs to operate the trash service,” he said. “We have a staging area (for the green waste), it is chopped and we sell it to boilers at paper mills.”

The green waste pick-up was initiated about a year ago and has cut down on the city’s landfill trash bill by 30 to 40 percent, he said.

There are four routes in the City of Groves, Monday through Thursday and those employees work four 10 hour days and are off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday unless there is a holiday.

He said the automated system has a number of benefits to the city such as less injuries and lower costs on Workers Compensation.

“I think Groves does a superior job, not because I’m city manager because the system was in place in Groves when I got here, but because the employees have been able to fine tune the system,” he said of the trash collection.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

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