The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 13, 2013

Conneaut’s health department monitors garbage trucks, has little say on hauling of trash

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Plans to contract out trash hauling in Conneaut wouldn’t necessarily bump up against garbage and garbage truck-related regulations already in the hands of the city health department, officials said.

In 2011, the department updated its laws pertaining to solid waste. The ordinance primarily sets standards for garbage trucks and lays out the responsibilities of residents, but doesn’t dictate how haulers must conduct their businesses.

“(Regarding disposal companies) we only register the haulers,” said Sally Kennedy, Conneaut health commissioner. “Only city legislators can do more than that.”

Pick-up days for specific businesses, for example, were omitted in the revamped health ordinance. “That changed when we started to get more than a couple haulers,” Kennedy said.

Many aspects of the department’s solid waste law deal with garbage trucks, which must be registered and licensed annually by department personnel. To get a thumbs-up, trucks must have enclosed bodies, are leakproof and frequently cleaned to prevent odor and breeding of bugs. Trucks must also pay a fee based on their weight and display the company name and phone number on the sides of the vehicle.

Garbage trucks cannot be parked overnight in a residentially-zoned area or on a city street, according to the ordinance.

Ten licensed trash-haulers do business in town, including four that specialize in commercial and roll-off service, according to the health department.

The health department’s solid waste regulations also spell out do’s and don’ts for residents and property-owners. For example, garbage cannot be stored on front lawns, front porches and tree lawns. Garbage must be kept in an “approved garbage container,” which can be a plastic bag, and can’t be placed for collection until the evening before pick-up day, which — according to health regulations — can be scheduled Mondays through Thursdays.

Local health laws also oblige property-owners to have trash collection each week and ban people from dumping their household waste into recycling bins and public trash cans.

As with any law, enforcement is always an issue, Kennedy said. “The problem is some people residing in Conneaut don’t have a licensed trash hauler,” she said.

Later this month, City Council is expected to say yes or no to an ordinance that would authorize City Manager Tim Eggleston to seek proposals from vendors interested in contracting for the town’s residential trash collection. The city would consider bids from one vendor or a collection of businesses that wish to work together. Council would have final say on any deal negotiated by Eggleston.

Administrators believe a contract program would lower monthly trash bills and improve compliance with garbage-related laws.