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New Garbage Collection System in Burlington

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Jason Parrott
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Burlington is moving to a more automated system with rolling trash carts and retro-fitted garbage trucks.

Burlington homeowners have a question to answer in the coming weeks: how large of a trash cart do they want for their properties? The answer is needed because the city is changing its garbage collection system.

Burlington is purchasing about 9,500 rolling trash carts of various sizes: 35-gallons, 65-gallons and 95-gallons. The total cost is expected to be about $500,000 plus $70,000 more to outfit the city’s garbage trucks with “tippers” to empty the carts.

The new automated system will replace the current method of crews manually emptying trash cans and dumping bags into the trucks. It’s expected to reduce the physical burden on employees and help improve the appearance of the city.

Don Fitting manages the city’s wastewater treatment plant. He told the city council this week that it’s important for residents to select the right size cart, showing them a photo of two trash carts.

“The can on the right shows the lid is open,” said Fitting. “It’s got bags sticking up above the lip of the can. That will not be acceptable. We will not collect that can.”

Fitting said cans with closed lids will be collected.

A survey will soon be mailed out and posted online so homeowners can indicate what size trash cart they want. Those who fail to respond will be given a 65-gallon cart by default.

The carts are currently on display at the city’s public works building, the wastewater treatment plant, and the public library.

The 35-gallon cart is expected to add no additional cost to the monthly bill for garbage collection. Monthly bills will increase for the larger size carts or if an additional trash cart is purchased.

Fitting told the city council the trash carts should be delivered on Sept. 24 and the distribution could be completed by Oct. 6.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.