Now that the new automated garbage collection system has been approved, Orem residents were able to see how it works and have their questions answered at two demonstrations on Friday.
The demonstrations, one held in the morning at the city landfill and one in the afternoon at the Orem Civic Center, showed citizens what to expect with the new system, which is scheduled to be in operation around December. An automated side-loading truck picks up the container and dumps it, eliminating the need for an employee to lift the container.Ott Dameron, services division manager for Orem, said the city has ordered 14,000 trash containers. One container per household will be provided by the city. Residents will have the option to rent an additional container for $2.50.
Citizens will be required to put all garbage in the assigned container. Any garbage not inside the container will not be picked up by the city, he said. Garbage too big to fit into the container must be cut down so that it will fit.
"We are looking forward to the new system," Dameron said, "particularly for the costs savings and the efficiency."
Dameron said that the employee turnover in the garbage department has been extremely high in the past, mainly because of back injuries. The city has been making substantial payments to the Worker's Compensation Fund because of the high number of injuries - the main reason for the new system.
"Why destroy a human being when there is a better way to do it?" Dameron said. He said now employees can look for a career in the sanitation department instead of quitting after a few years because they can't do the work.
With the new system, the department will operate with five trucks instead of nine and three positions will be eliminated. Dameron hopes to transfer the workers to a different department. Layoffs would be a last resort, he said.