Hattiesburg ready to roll out new automated garbage service

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's newest fleet of vehicles are ready to change how the Hub City deals with its garbage.

"It's more efficient, half the time and same amount of garbage picked up," said  City Spokeswoman Jeanette Bennett. The dozen trucks, all automated, arrived last week.

This after city leaders decided it was time to change the system. A decision made during last years budget process with a price tag of about $168,000 each.

"Garbage men have a very dangerous job, being on the back of the truck with putting the garbage in there, it can be hazardous to them," said Bennett.

With the new system, each truck will only need one worker, eliminating the need for workers to ride on the back. Even though those positions will be gone, the workers won't be.

"Several of the men that were working on the back of the garbage trucks got transferred to a different department if they wanted to. They were all offered positions," said Bennett.

The trucks will begin rolling out in late July or early August with all new routes. Something else that's going to be new is your trash can. About 26,000 cans, property of the city, will be issued to every home, each one fitted with a GPS tracking device.

"We'll know what time it got picked up, where it got picked up, by which truck and so the whole system is geared to making sure the residents get their garbage picked up better," said Bennett.

Final routes, collection times and pick up frequencies are still being hammered out but will be in place before the trucks move out.

"There may be a lot of change up front, but the whole system is going to be more efficient, more timely and we'll be able to keep track of if your garbage didn't get picked up, we know where it was, when it was and what to do," said Bennett.

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