When would Alabaster curbside debris service changes start?

Published 9:04 am Tuesday, November 6, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council will gather public input in mid-November on proposed changes to the city’s curbside debris collection service, and has set a tentative start date for the changes if they are approved.

Council members will hold a public hearing on the matter during their Nov. 19 meeting, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall. Council members likely will vote on the proposed service changes the same night.

If the changes are approved, they likely would go into effect on April 6, 2019, which coincides with Shelby County’s next free landfill day, council members said during an Oct. 30 work session.

Public Works Director Mark Harris and Shelby County Development Services Director Chad Scroggins brought the issue to council members during an Oct. 11 work session, and said the city’s frequency of collecting all types of curbside rubbish every week is causing issues for the city at the Shelby County Landfill.

Currently, Public Works uses grapple trucks to pick up any type of debris left on curbs throughout the city and transports it to the landfill. Harris said issues arise when wood waste is mixed with other types of debris, such as household trash, furniture and other items, and then transported to the landfill. The Public Works curbside debris pickup service is separate from the city’s regular weekly trash and recycling pickup.

From 2010 to 2017, the city saw its number of hauls to the landfill double, and Harris said this year’s number is on track to surpass the 2017 number.

Because of the volume of curbside waste collected by the city every week, Harris said the Public Works Department does not have the manpower to separate debris by type before transporting it to the landfill, which drives up landfill costs for the city. During the Oct. 11 work session, Harris showed council members photos of several massive trash piles containing everything from children’s outdoor playsets to construction debris left on the curb for the city to pick up, and said the Public Works Department encounters them on a daily basis.

As a result, the city is considering moving to a pickup schedule similar to surrounding cities such as Chelsea and Pelham. Under the proposed changes, the Public Works Department would continue to pick up biodegradable waste such as leaves, trees and grass clippings curbside each week, and would schedule two heavy trash pickup days a year for other types of waste.

The two heavy trash pickup days likely would coincide with the landfill’s free days in October and April.

“This is us trying to do what the county is asking us to do,” Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon said during the Oct. 30 work session. “If we keep doing what we’re doing, it’s just going to drive the cost to the city up even more.”