Arrow Refuse revises plan for garbage collection in Juneau

Arrow Refuse has filed a new plan to change the way garbage is collected in Juneau. But this one does not include barging solid waste south or curbside recycling.

In a filing with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska last week, Arrow’s parent company Alaska Pacific Environmental Services proposes replacing its garbage can service in Juneau with an automated roll cart service. That would mean getting rid of standard 32 gallon trash cans and replacing them with either 48 or 96 gallon bins, called “roll carts.”

Alaska Pacific Environmental Services General Manager Glen Thompson says customers would pay a monthly rental fee of $3.95 for the roll carts, which will work with a new fleet of trucks the company plans to bring to Juneau.

“A truck with basically a one-armed bandit arm on the side of it that automatically reaches out and empties the can,” says Thompson. “They’re faster. They’re safer for the crew. They’re basically used everywhere else in the known world.”

Arrow Refuse essentially proposed the same thing back in September. But that plan also included barging trash to the Lower 48 and curbside recycling. The regulatory commission rejected the company’s first application, saying the combined revisions would require a cost of service study.

Under the new plan, Thompson says some customers in Juneau would pay slightly more for the service, while some would pay slightly less. Arrow plans a cost of service study in order to set long-term rates.

“What we’ve proposed to them is, we won’t have an increase in the garbage rates in the first year. And during that time we will develop a cost of service study – the cost of your labor, your fuel, your trucks, your mechanics and everything goes into it – and that becomes the basis for a rate making case in 2013 we would apply for a permanent tariff,” Thompson says.

The plan calls for an ambitious timeline. Thompson says the company would like to roll out the new service in April. He says customers will receive information about the changes in the mail sometime in February.

“Basically, we’re going to try to set it up in such a way that if you have a three-can service right now, you’ll go to this size cart, if you have a one can, you’ll go to this size cart,” he says. “We’ll be doing some changes in the routes because the trucks are more efficient, they can pick up more stops per day. So there will be some changes coming up and we’re going to be communicating that to the customers.”

In the meantime, the regulatory commission is seeking comments on the proposal (to read the RCA’s notice of filing, click here). The deadline for comments is January 30th.

While the new proposal does not include curbside recycling, Thompson says Arrow plans to offer the service for a separate fee, which he says is still under development.

He says negotiations continue with landfill operator Waste Management and the City and Borough of Juneau over the future of the dump. But for now the company has no plan to barge trash to the Lower 48. Arrow Refuse’s contract with Waste Management expires a year from now.

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