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RMWB recaps curbside collection changes

IMAGE. Supplied the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The Municipality provided an update on the curbside collection program.

It made several adjustments to the program when the state of local emergency (SOLE) came into effect on March 23.

Deputy CAO Matthew Hough said the 2020 River Break Up Flood also forced the RMWB to make additional changes.

“In response to both emergencies, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our Municipal operations and specifically, to our curbside collection program. While I recognize these changes have caused inconvenience for some residents, they are critical to conducting safe, efficient operations and essential for ensuring we can continue to provide core services to our community.”

Hough said the RMWB temporary halted the service to protect employees in the Solid Waste Services Branch.

Recycling requires hand sorting by its employees, so halting the service reduces the risk of exposure to the virus.

Residents must bag garbage and recycling materials together and place them inside black and light blue collections for weekly pickup.

“While we have the ability to collect curbside collection bins with fully automated trucks, we do not have a fully automated sorting process at our Material Recovery Facility. The health and safety of our staff is a top priority, and we are taking every step to minimize their exposure to the virus.”

Similarly, the City of Edmonton must landfill its waste material as it also reduced its staff.

Since the transition to essential services, Hough said the RMWB may continue to provide core services.

The Solid Waste Services Branch may focus its energies and additional resources on its curbside collection and landfill operations.

READ MORE: Restrictions to consider as Fort McMurray Regional Landfill reopens

Hough addressed the idea from residents to store recyclable materials until the RMWB could reinstate the program.

He said the Municipality does not have that level of storage capacity on-site.

“We do not have a timeline in place for when we can resume recycling operations, but I assure you we are committed to providing all services again as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Due to flood recovery efforts, the RMWB announced on May 1 the re-opening of the residential scale at the landfill.

It also waived landfill fees for residential and commercial waste.

Hough said curbside collection crews picked up three bins of residential waste in flood-impacted areas from May 2-4.

“We’re working to assist those who have been affected by the flood as best as possible, while also continuing to keep core collection and landfill operations running safely.”

Additional resources for residential waste disposal include the curbside collection of large debris and even the request of a Bagster to their homes.

The RMWB also asked residents to place unbagged yard waste in the dark blue collection bin for pickup.

READ MORE: Curbside collection of yard waste begins May 12

Hough said this would eliminate touchpoints for crews and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“Crews will continue to pick up two bins of mixed garbage and recycling each week, but we now ask that the bagged, mixed garbage and recycling be placed inside of the black and light blue bins. All bins should be placed at the curb before 7:30 a.m. on your regularly scheduled collection day.”

Yard waste collection in 2020 officially began on May 12.

For more information on the curbside collection program, go to the Municipality’s website.