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Automated Trash Collection Program to Expand in April


Automated trash collection, introduced last year in Glendale at 5,500 residences, soon will be provided to more than triple that number of households, city sanitation officials said this week.

Specially designed 60- and 100-gallon garbage barrels will be delivered in mid-April to 12,000 more single-family houses, small businesses and apartment buildings with up to four units. Automated trash trucks will then serve 17,500 households throughout the city, said Lino Torres, the city's integrated waste administrator.

The remaining 10,000 households in Glendale will be added next year when 13 automated trucks will replace the city's 24 manually loaded vehicles, Torres said.

"The program has been a success," he said. "It took people about a month to get used to placing the barrels in the correct place near the curb line, but it has gotten to where we aren't getting any more complaints."

The City Council on Tuesday authorized its Public Works Department to seek bids from companies that provide the specially designed barrels. Council members already have approved spending $756,000 for about 12,000 more containers, said Kerry Morford, assistant director of public works.

The expansion of the automated service marks the second phase of the city's three-year plan to curtail injuries to sanitation workers, encourage recycling and make garbage collection cheaper and more efficient.

The city should save up to $600,000 a year by providing faster service with fewer trucks and fewer workers, Torres said. Automated trucks require only one worker each to operate a hydraulic arm that lifts and dumps special barrels.

About 14 operator positions will be cut by next year through attrition, not layoffs, Torres said. The city stopped hiring more than a year ago and has filled vacant positions with temporary workers, he said.

A worker safely manning an automated truck from inside its cab can collect trash at 600 households a day. In comparison, only 350 can be serviced by two workers in a manually operated vehicle, he said.

A voluntary program to separate grass, leaves and other yard wastes, which began last year with automated trash collection, also will be expanded in April to the 12,000 additional households.

Yard clippings, stored in residents' old trash cans, are collected by the same city trucks that collect glass, cans and paper for recycling. The yard wastes, normally dumped as trash at the Scholl Canyon Landfill, now are composted and used in place of dirt to cover layers of garbage at the city's dump.

That has helped Glendale meet state-mandated recycling goals, which require municipalities to reduce their landfill deposits by 25% by 1995 and 50% by the year 2000, Torres said.

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