On any given weekday in Superior, garbage trucks scatter throughout the city on a mission to pick up waste. Some days, that includes tipping as many as 800 cans in a day; on others as few as 300.
That’s going to change Aug. 2, when the city launches a new, consolidated route. For many, that means a new pickup day each week.
“Our garbage routes are kind of a hodge-podge,” Public Works Director Todd Janigo said. “I have no idea how they were ever put together. I’m sure that it had to do with personalities and where people lived. I know that ... section up on top, the North End area, that was to make sure the bars were serviced … after the weekend."
The existing routes pose challenges, such as offering no backup when there is a problem with a truck. Can counts are also way off, with significantly more cans collected on Monday than Friday, Janigo said.
City officials started working with Hartel’s/DBJ, the city’s recycling collector, to consolidate the areas served for each day of the week.
Hartel’s/DBJ provides its services once every two weeks based on the city’s existing garbage routes.
The new routes break the city into five sections covering the area north of Belknap Street on Monday, heading west to east Tuesday through Thursday and getting to the city’s southernmost neighborhoods on Friday.
“It will balance out our can counts,” Janigo said. “We will have four trucks in there. We have them divvied up into four routes but they’re all in the same area. If we have a truck that breaks a hydraulic hose, we’ve got three other trucks in the area that don’t have to go very far to pick up that slack for the day until we can get one of our spare trucks out there.”
The challenge to changing the routes will be communicating the change with the community, said Chris Carlson, assistant public works director.
To accomplish that, Carlson said people can expect to receive notices about the new routes with their next city utility bill in July. Officials are also going to launch a website with an interactive map that will allow people to type in their address to determine what day of the week their trash will be collected.
The website wasn’t live the morning of Monday, June 7, but Mayor Jim Paine said he planned to launch it soon. People can sign up to be notified when the site goes live at ci.superior.wi.us/list.aspx.
Recycling routes will change to match the new garbage routes, Carlson said. Recycling will continue to be collected every two weeks, but he said residents will have garbage and recycling collected on the same day of the week.
City officials discussed the changes Thursday, June 3, at a Public Works Committee meeting. No action was required as it’s the public works director’s job to establish the routes.
“Talk about changing a garbage route that makes sense … This is something I would absolutely stand behind if any constituent called and asked why their garbage day changed,” Councilor Keith Kern said.
Many people living in the 9th District Kern represents will have their trash day change from Monday to Tuesday. Other neighborhoods west of Tower Avenue will also see Wednesday collection days move to Tuesday.
“As much as we are all bracing for impact, I feel like what I hear more than anything is efficiency, efficiency, efficiency,” Councilor Jenny Van Sickle said. “'Get the garbage picked up, fill up the potholes. That’s all we need from you.' That’s an honest assessment of our job. I’m so excited and grateful to see this work come together.”