79.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, June 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHOUSE-TO-HOUSE GARBAGE SERVICE BEING EYED

HOUSE-TO-HOUSE GARBAGE SERVICE BEING EYED

To solve the problems of landfill fires and mountains of garbage at its dumpster sites, the Public Works Department is planning for house-to-house garbage collection.
Commissioner Harold Thompson Jr. told members of the Senate Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection on Friday that house-to-house collection will start in October on all three islands. Such a system would solve many of the department’s waste problems, especially if it were operated by a semi-autonomous solid waste authority, Thompson said.
House-to-house collection will also give Public Works a more accurate picture when it comes time to set fees, Thompson said. Currently, the territory’s landfills don’t charge a tipping fee.
Home service, Thompson said, "works because of the manner in which the garbage is stored; because more tonnage per hour and per dollar is collected; because separation of the garbage at the source becomes easily implemented when necessary; because there is actual separation of residential and commercial garbage . . . and our cost to collect is even less than the methods we presently utilize."
The current system uses roll-on-roll-off bins at various locations on each island, said Roan Creque, special projects coordinator at Public Works. Creque said he put the bin system in place in 1982 only for the collection of large items like appliances, mattresses and box springs. But after hurricanes, the bins began to be used to collect household waste.
"FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) paid for the bins and the racket continued," Creque said, adding that the areas around the bins have become "mini landfills all over the island. The evidence was the . . . strike."
A week-long strike by garbage haulers on St. Croix earlier in February caused mountains of garbage to pile up at the bin collection sites. The haulers stopped collecting the government’s trash because they are owed millions of dollars dating as far back as 1996. Garbage collection resumed after new contracts were signed.
Creque said house-to-house garbage collection will avert similar actions in the future; is the cheaper form of collection, saving $500,000 a year on St. Croix alone; and makes it easier to implement source separation. He said a few bins will remain, but their use will be limited.
"We intend to reduce the amount of roll-on-roll-off bins, which eliminates the unsightliness they bring as well as the significant cost attached to that style of collection," Thompson said. "This reduction helps to finance house-to-house collection."
Having residents and commercial users separate garbage at their homes and businesses will make operating the government’s landfills easier and safer, said Dean Plaskett, commissioner of Planning and Natural Resources.
"We have combustible materials mixed with others and it gets compacted with the methane and a spark goes off," Plaskett said. "I think now with this landfill fire, we’ve seen it essential we get into some . . . form of recycling."
Creque, however, cautioned that recycling in the territory shouldn’t be compared to that on the mainland. He said the volume of recyclables generated locally makes it difficult to cover shipping and other costs, therefore affecting profitability.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.



STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,756FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
This message is only visible to admins.
Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Error: Server configuration issue