DEH: Cover bins to prevent leaks from garbage trucks

In reference to the recent letter to the editorial section of the Caymanian Compass, where Roger M. Davies outlined his concern “Garbage trucks leave noxious trail,” the Department of Environmental Health would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any inconvenience the public may have experienced with water leaking from the garbage collection trucks.

The department provides collection services to the public using a variety of collection vehicles. Residential garbage trucks, which are used to service houses and some small businesses, are all equipped with a drain attached to the base of the truck’s compactors. There should not be any leaking from the trucks as these drains have sealed plugs, and optimally, residential waste collected from the public should be dry and with minimum water content.

Leaking becomes an issue during periods of heavy rain and residential waste being placed in uncovered garbage bins. Thus, a significant amount of water accumulates in the bins and is transferred to the trucks. This results in the “squeezing out” of the excess water as the trucks compacts the waste during normal collection activities. The sealed plugs underneath the compactors should prevent the “squeezing out” of the excess water, but if the seal is damaged or missing, the excess water leaks out of the trucks. Additionally, if the seals are in place and there is excess water accumulation in the hopper of the truck, water will also overspill from the truck.

Over the last two years, the department has undertaken measures to stop the leaking, by sealing all plugs underneath the trucks. Unfortunately, one or more of these systems must have been inadequately sealed, resulting in the leaking of the trucks. In addition, the department’s drivers have been instructed to be careful not to compact the waste in the trucks right in front of homes.

The department has also been looking at various options to mitigate the situation, including having all the plugs re-sealed immediately. The department is also exploring the option of standardizing the requirements for the garbage receptacles used by homes and small businesses, which will require receptacles to have attached covers, and accompanying public outreach to educate people on the importance of keeping their garbage bins closed at all times.

The department is asking for public help with this issue, by ensuring that your garbage bins are properly covered, especially during the rainy season.

The department values and appreciates any feedback from the public on this or other concerns and we look forward to improved customer services as we receive replacement vehicles.

For more information contact the DEH at 949-6696.

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