Itawamba County’s fancy new garbage trucks will roll out at the end of this week. One of them, at least.

Crows Truck Center in Memphis is set to deliver three automated side-loader trucks to the local solid waste department on Thursday. The company provided the final inspection of the trucks.

One of these trucks will run a route the following day. Two trucks will run routes the following week. The third truck will be added by mid-August.

According to Itawamba County Solid Waste Director Mark Stanford, the staggered implementation should help the solid waste department’s drivers learn the ins and outs of the machines. He said the trucks aren’t overly complicated, but they are very different than the read-loaders his employees are accustomed to.

“The guys have got to get used to them and have to get trained on them,” Stanford said.

Unlike traditional rear-loader garbage trucks, which require at least one person to drive and a second to pick up trash, side-loaders can be driven and operated by a single person. The driver’s seat is on the right-side of the vehicle, and the driver snags carts using a retractable 12-foot mechanical arm. Because they require fewer people to operate and don’t need a worker regularly exiting and entering the vehicle, semi-automated loaders are believed to be both cheaper and safer than traditional rear-loaders in the long run.

Along with the new trucks, local garbage routes are expected to see some changes in the near future. Stanford said the routes will be reworked over the next three to four weeks so they accommodate the abilities of the new trucks.

Among the changes will be a more spread out commercial pickup schedule. Currently, commercial garbage is picked up on Monday. Standford said commercial trash will begin being picked up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the near future.

The solid waste head said he wants to see how the trucks run and his drivers handle them before making big changes to the routes.

“We’re not going to change the routes until the third truck has gone out,” he said. “It’s going to work out for the best, but it’s going to take a while to get into a rhythm.”

The Itawamba County Board of Supervisors purchased the trucks in October at a cost of $261,599 apiece.

The trucks were purchased as part of a $1.22-million upgrade to the county’s solid waste system, which began last year with the purchase and delivery of more than 7,500 trackable garbage carts. Supervisors purchased what would inevitably be an initial round of 96-gallon bins from North Carolina-based Schafer Systems International (SSI) for $388,500, or $51.80 per cart. The board spent an additional $2,500 to purchase the company’s WISTAR asset management software, which will be used to monitor and track the carts. The county will be required to pay that fee annually.

Each of the carts is marked with a unique RDIF label, which allows workers to scan and track it. This collects data that can be used to see who’s having trash picked up and who’s not. Twitter: @admarmr

Twitter: @admarmr​

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