Watertown residents will receive a special delivery in the first two weeks of July when their toters for the new automated trash collection and single stream recycling programs are delivered to their homes.
Tuesday night, Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee told the Town Council that the new program will begin on Aug. 6, and as part of it each household will receive a 64-gallon trash toter and a 64-gallon recycling toter. The toters have wheels to allow people to push it out to the curb.
The single-stream recycling system means residents can put all recyclables – paper, colored class, cans and plastics – all in the same container. Recycling will be collected every two weeks, Mee said.
Trash will be collected weekly. The 64-gallon toters hold around three to five garbage bags, and no trash will be collected that is not inside the toter. The only exception is bulky items such as furniture and bedding.
If people are away when the toters are delivered, they will be taken back to the Public Works Facility on Orchard Street after a few days, Mee said. Residents can then pick them up there.
To prevent people from stealing toters or using other people's toters each one will have a serial number which is assigned to a specific address, Mee said.
Town Councilors said they worry about people being confused by the new program. Town Council President Mark Sideris said the trash collection company hired by the town, Republic, promised it would set up education for residents including having a few residents act as testers of the new system.
"I am very concerned about education (for residents about the new system)," Sideris said. "It is May 22 now and we are starting in August."
Mee said he will send an information brochure to all residents in town. In addition, has put up a television screen with information about the new system in Town Hall, and plans to have another in the Senior Center. Information will also be available at the library.
Town Councilor Cecilia Lenk wanted to know what will happen to people's old trash barrels.
"We are planning a rubber barrel recycling day," Mee said. "We are also encouraging people to use them for yard waste so they don't have to use yard waste bags."
More information about the automated trash pickup and single stream recycling program is available on the Department of Public Works Website.