Keeping costs down, saving for future

Mike Crowe - Guest column

As the new Sanitation Superintendent for the City of Wilmington, I am grateful to the city and its citizens for the opportunity to serve.

Our goals as administration are to preserve low rates while providing quality services and to protect and extend the life of our landfill. We want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same amenities in the future; however, to accomplish this, we need your help.

In 2016 the city implemented an automated cart-based collection system which saved money by reducing labor costs and enhancing safety. The cart-based system allots each residence to receive one 95 or 65 gallon trash cart for $14.86 monthly (you may request a second cart for an additional $7.43 monthly; this is less than a private system with cart-based collection). The designated carts are not to be moved from the original address.

The biggest challenge in our system is additional refuse set out by residents for pickup that has not been placed in designated receptacles. This causes the sanitation department to send a second crew to run the route — twice the fuel, twice the manpower.

The extra step eliminates our savings. Per city ordinance, refuse that is not in the designated cart will no longer be collected.

All residents may contact the landfill for a second cart, bring it to the landfill, or schedule it as one of your three annual bulk “items.”

Considerations are made during the holiday season (Christmas and Thanksgiving) for special pickup at no extra charge.

Additionally, we give each residential address three bulk items to be collected free of charge annually, i.e. mattress and box spring set. Call the Sanitation/Landfill Department at 937-382-6474 to schedule your pickup before your normal collection day.

For the safety of our refuse collectors, sofas, chairs, mattresses and box springs must be fully wrapped with plastic and sealed with tape. If you choose to bring your item to the landfill, it does not have to be wrapped.

Carpet is also considered a bulk pickup. It must be cut into 4-foot lengths, tied into rolls no larger than 10 inches in diameter, fully wrapped in plastic, sealed with tape and no more than 10 bundles set at the curb. We have eliminated this charge, originally $45.

After your three allotted bulk item collections, there is a $15 charge for each additional bulk item. Or you may bring them to the landfill at a cost of $12 a cubic yard for disposal.

Brush pickup for Wilmington residents (up to 10 bundles) is free of charge. It must be cut into four-foot sections, not weighing more than 30 pounds, and securely bundled with twine.

Yard waste will be collected curbside and must be in paper bags purchased from the Sanitation Department, Utility Billing or Ace Hardware for $1.50 per bag. All items need to be placed at the curb no later than 12 a.m. the day of your collection.

Regarding new projects, we are in the designing stages of a 24-acre landfill expansion. This will create a lifespan potential of 24 to 40 years.

By keeping recyclables out of your landfill we extend that life. For instance, we have two cardboard dumpsters as test pilots; they are currently diverting 700 to 750 pounds of cardboard per week from your landfill and I hope to extend to other businesses in the future.

Also we have receptacles for cardboard at the landfill and city hall.

The prior superintendent, Braden Dunham, applied for an automated cart-based EPA recycling grant and with the aid of Brian Shidaker, Public Safety and Services Director, we have been approved. At this time, I have purchased the equipment to implement the program in March 2018.

Residents will receive blue 65-gallon recycle carts that will be collected in the same fashion as your waste carts — you will be able to recycle newspapers, mail, magazines, food cans, aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and cardboard.

It is my goal to leave the landfill better than I found it and make it last as long as possible for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

Our staff works diligently at saving time and money for our city. I’ve never seen a group of employees work harder than the men and women of your Sanitation Department and we have the support of all the city departments.

I encourage you, as the citizens of Wilmington, to join in this endeavor. Let’s keep excess waste out of your landfill, and save air space and money in fees by embracing the new recycle program.

Thank you for your cooperation and the opportunity to serve you.

Mike Crowe is Wilmington’s Sanitation Department Superintendent.

Mike Crowe

Guest column