SCS Engineers Assists Lakeland, Florida, Implement An Automated Solid Waste Collection Program

May 12, 2011

City of Lakeland Wins APWA Project of the Year Award

Lakeland, FL – The City of Lakeland has recently initiated the first phase of its citywide automated collection program for residential customers. The program, once fully implemented in 2014, will save the City upwards of $1.2 million per year. The Florida West Coast Branch of the American Public Works Association (APWA) has recognized the project as their APWA Project of the Year – Environment for 2011.

The rear-loader operations required manually lifting materials into the collection vehicles. This heavy, repetitive, manual lifting combined with an aging workforce tends to generate an elevated number of injured staff. A fully automated collection program enhances worker safety and comfort by minimizing manual lifting and exposure to possible hazards in the waste such as sharp objects. Fully automated collection virtually eliminates heavy lifting, walking between setouts, frequent steps on and off the truck, and exposure of arms and fingers to mechanical equipment.

The recent conversion to an automated collection system has also provided the City of Lakeland’s residents with an improved level of service, while providing an opportunity for cost savings, enhanced safety for Department employees, and reduced exposure to risks due to worker injuries. Additionally, the transition to automated collection facilitates implementation of a cost-efficient “pay as you throw” program by providing City residents trash containers that are “right sized” for the amounts of waste generated for disposal versus recycling. A conversion of this magnitude will result in a significant reduction in staffing over the recommended phase-in period.

SCS Engineers completed the feasibility assessment for the project and assisted the City with facets of its implementation, including development of a fee structure based on a Pay-As-You-Throw Program.