Trash-dunwoody

Neighborhoods in north and central Dunwoody are among those selected to be part of a study into changes in DeKalb County’s sanitation services, including a move to once-a-week garbage pickup.

The three-month pilot program will include 28,000 single family households along more than 20 garbage pickup routes scattered across DeKalb to gauge opinions from customers from various parts of the county.

DeKalb County has selected neighborhoods in north and central Brookhaven to be part of a pilot program reducing garbage collection to once a week.

The main change in the pilot study will be reducing garbage collection from twice to once a week. Participants in the study will also receive new, 65-gallon bins for their garbage. The bins will work with new equipment to mechanically lift and empty them into a garbage truck.

If the program eventually is adopted county-wide, it could save the sanitation department more than $6 million a year, which would allow the department to avoid a rate increase, said Billy Malone, DeKalb County’s associate director of sanitation.

“We have been running a deficit in sanitation,” Malone said. “We don’t want to raise our fees.”

Malone said during neighborhood meetings before the pilot program was announced, most people said they would be OK with once-a-week garbage pickup because so much can be recycled now. “Garbage has shrunk over time,” Malone said.

Malone said the new containers will be large enough to fit a week’s worth of trash.

“We’re not going to have odor problems, we’re not going to have insects crawling out of these things,” he said. “It’s a more durable container.”

Malone said the pilot program is expected to start in March. A firm date will be announced soon, he said.

Also as part of the study, garbage, recycling and yard-trimming pickups will all take place on the same day each week. Those collections now may take place on different days.

DeKalb County officials will use the pilot program to assess the efficiency of mechanical garbage collection using semi-automated and automated equipment. Malone said mechanical garbage collection will help reduce employee injuries, something that would be good for the employees’ quality of life and the county’s bottom line.

Malone said DeKalb County began twice weekly garbage collection in 1939. He said 80 percent of cities in the U.S. already have switched to a once-a-week garbage pickup schedule.

“DeKalb is probably the last one in this area,” he said.

Households participating in the pilot progam will be contacted by a third-party vendor and asked for feedback on the program.

To find out more, contact DeKalb County using the email: addresssanitationpilot@dekalbcountyga.gov or by calling the sanitation pilot hotline at 404-294-2980.