Regular collection of residents’ excess trash bags may be stopped under an ordinance amendment for consideration by the city council.
An amendment previously approved by the Muskogee Public Works Authority requires residents to put all trash in city-provided trash carts. Residents should not put additional trash in bags or bins by the cart. However, for those who need additional garbage collection on a regular basis, he can purchase additional city garbage trucks for $10 each.
The City Council will consider the ordinance amendments that are part of the consent agenda at its regular meeting scheduled for 5:30 pm Monday.
Public Works Chief Operating Officer Avery Rigney said the revised ordinance will mark the final stage in the transition to fully automated garbage trucks. Regular garbage trucks now create routes to collect excess household waste that isn’t in their carts.
Rigney gave several reasons why the city wants to stop accepting bags.
“There are some concerns about the health of our employees when picking up bags. One is the needles in the bags,” he said. “We want to protect our employees from that. One way is to prevent employees from coming into contact with the bag in the first place.”
He said that stopping bag pick-ups also reduces the risk of injuries, such as employees getting into trucks or jumping off the back of trucks.
“The highest rate of injuries at sanitary facilities is employees picking up bags and throwing them into trucks,” Rigney said. “Sometimes the bags are overloaded and if they don’t break, it’s an unnecessary burden for employees.”
He said the presence of human waste in the bags could cause epidemics, including COVID-19. Bags placed near curbs can block rainwater flow.
“As far as public safety is concerned, it’s unsanitary to leave loose garbage bags outside,” he said. “Those bags break, exposing the public to waste.”
A cutting bag service saves money, he said.
“We see an opportunity to optimize the sanitation sector by reducing the number of trucks collecting garbage by not running these trucks exclusively for bag service,” he said. I got
In lieu of bag pickup, the city will offer discounted rates to residents who need additional carts.
“The bag fits easily in a polycart, which accommodates citizens who use more trash,” he said. “The majority of citizens do not use extra bags. Only about 15% use off-cart or bag services. Citizens who use extra bags are typically the same every week.
Public works hopes to start the program early this year, he said. “Notify the public by putting stickers on carts, door hangers and water bill inserts.”
Rigney said moving away from picking up bags won’t cut staff.
The city will continue to use semi-automated trucks, including picking up packages from blue bins used by residents with disabilities, he said.
At a public works conference, board member Shirley Hilton Flannery asked how the city picks up excess household trash during the holidays.
“For Christmas, we offer an extra service to our wrapping paper bags,” Rigney said.
According to Tera Shows, a spokesperson for the city of Muskogee, the city will collect excess trash when circumstances cause it, such as moving, a big birthday party, or buying a stuffed big-screen TV.
“Each household can request mass waste collection twice a year at no additional charge,” said Shows, adding that mass waste cleanup will take place from January to November.
Oversized trash cleanup guidelines stipulate that all oversized trash must be placed within 10 feet of the curb. Also, items picked up are limited to 1 dump truck or 5 cubic yards.
“Residents are encouraged to call to sign up for the list a week in advance of the day they would like to receive their bulk waste at (918) 684-6333,” Shows said. “We will also continue to offer a yard cleanup program that collects leaves, limbs and yard debris on Fridays.”