Petrolia may pare back to biweekly garbage collection



Petrolia has an opportunity to save big bucks on garbage collection.

The town’s contract collection expires at the end of the year and town staff has been working with Waste Management on some options which could save anywhere from $30,000 to nearly $69,000 a year. But there are trade-offs should the town take advantage of the deals.

In a report to council, CAO Manny Baron says by moving to bi-weekly collection, with a maximum of six bags a house, Petrolia would save $68,000.

But the idea of bi-weekly collection through the year worried some. “I have concerns about biweekly pickup,” she told council. “I like the savings but I don’t like the biweekly pickup – especially with the heat we’ve had last summer.”

Councilor Mary Jane Samela agrees saying the idea of finding garbage filled with maggots in the heat is “gross.

“If we could get people to compost that would cut down on a lot of garbage,” she says.

Baron says the town could purchase weekly collection during the summer months but that would “basically cut your savings in half.”

Mayor John McCharles says biweekly pickup may not be all that bad. “It’s a fairly sizable savings …biweekly is probably not a burden for most people.”

McCharles adds the town could save more if community members would increase their recycling efforts. Petrolia has one of the lowest rates of recycling in Lambton County according to Baron. He says it would be worth the effort to begin a campaign to increase that rate.

“In 2019 or 2020, our dump will close and our garbage will be trucked to Watford,” Baron says adding that will increase the town’s costs. “If we start educating people now…hopefully everyone will get into it…and while our cost will go up (sending trash to Watford) hopefully it won’t be as dramatic an increase.”

Town council authorized staff to continue talking with Waste Management about the garbage contract but to figure out what savings could be obtained with bi-weekly collection for the year with weekly collection between June and September.

While the residential garbage contract is up for discussion, Baron says collection in the downtown will remain as is.