ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city has a new set of trucks to help clean up homeless camps and illegal dumping. The trucks are believed to be a game changer for how the Solid Waste Department cleans the city.
“They can address illegal dumping, encampments, and they can get into alleyways or other areas where our larger trucks can’t get into. It’s a really good way to start addressing other areas of the city that need attention,” said the City of Albuquerque Director of Solid Waste Matthew Whelan.
Not only are these trucks smaller, they also come with a two-man crew tasked with picking up trash by hand.
“For instance, if this truck is going down Menaul and they see something or they see some illegal dumping, they can immediately pull over and be able to use it on a city street. Whereas our bigger trucks wouldn’t be able to do that. If it’s a side loader, you have to have a can,” said Whelan.
While the city is starting with two trucks, the goal is to eventually have six to eight. Each truck will be assigned to a certain section of the city.
Crews will be dispatched based on 311 reports of litter and illegal dumping. They will be focused on homeless camps. They’re also allowing the city to tackle the driver shortage by utilizing existing workers. Their larger trash trucks require a Commercial Driver’s license. The new trucks don’t require one.
According to the city, the trucks are smaller and more environmentally friendly in comparison to their other trucks.
Director Whelan mentioned, “They’re better on gas and they can get into other areas where our bigger trucks can’t get into. They’re easier to dispatch and we started ordering these to address a couple [of] problems.”
The trucks are also saving the city money. According to the Solid Waste Department, the trucks are about 1/3 of the cost of the bigger trucks and can cost up to $145,000. The trucks will be able to hold two-and-a-half tons of waste. The city has four more trucks on order, but they’ve been delayed because of shipping issues.