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New truck arrives to boost trash Halifax County collections

South Boston News
SoVaNow.com / August 18, 2014
The Halifax County Department of Public Works is getting back on its feet after an Aug. 2 vehicle fire destroyed four of the county’s five trash collection trucks.

On Friday, the department accepted the keys to its newest machine — a 2015 Peterbilt 320, delivered by Cloverdale-based Cavalier Equipment Corporation.

It replaces the department’s 2014 Mack truck, purchased for $202,000 and ruined by the fire that swept through the Bethel Road landfill site, where the county fleet was parked for the weekend on Aug. 2.

Since the disaster, crews have busily kept up with trash collection for 28,000 county residents. According to Public Works Director Ricky Nelson, the damage reached an estimated $613,000, including the 2014 Mack, the newest addition to the fleet.

The replacement cost of the vehicle was $209,330. Since the destroyed Mack truck was placed into service in March, the county’s insurance will cover the full cost of the truck, minus the $1,000 deductible, explained Nelson.

“We’re getting a new truck that’s replacing a new truck,” Nelson said. “It’s really just even-steven.”

The newest addition is a big help to the county’s department. Out of the fire, the only undamaged truck was the one that was designated for recycling pick-up. It was immediately deployed for regular trash collection, forcing the county to suspend the collection of items for recycling.

As the lone operational vehicle, the truck was put into double-time refuse collection for several days after the fire, as first- and third-shift crews picked up trash from the collection centers located throughout the county, day and night.

Since the fire, the county’s recycling services have been suspended until further notice because the department cannot spare the truck from refuse collection.

“Hopefully, we’ll resume the recycling services very soon,” Nelson said.

Another source of help over the last two weeks has eased the department’s straits: a loaner truck from Mecklenburg County. The neighboring county offered the Halifax department use of a front-loading refuse truck that it had taken out of service.

This allowed Halifax County Public Works employees to operate two trucks during one day shift.

“It’s ours to use as long as we need it,” Nelson said.

With the addition of the new Peterbilt, the Mecklenburg loaner truck, and the recycling truck, Nelson is hopeful that recycling pick-up may be able to resume services sooner than later.

As for replacements for the two 2001 Volvo refuse trucks and the 2005 Autocar, Nelson explained that the county will have to wait and see about replacing the older model vehicles.

Halifax County Public Works’ annual operating budget is $1.8 million.

Nelson did add that the department employees did an exceptional job in keeping the established schedule for the 12-plus collection centers and additional trash sites sprinkled throughout the county.

“We have never been behind,” he said. “They did a great job; they really did.”


SIDE NOTE:

Free Cycling:

At most of Halifax County collection centers, a “free stuff” building stands for residents to use as a way to get rid of household items that are still of good use, but may no longer be needed or wanted. For those who do not want to hold a yard sale or throw it away, the “free stuff” building is truly a treasure find for another resident who may need it.

“We don’t do anything, but provide the shelter for it,” Nelson said. He explained that everything that is placed and taken from the “free stuff” building saves the county from paying $53 per ton to dispose of it.

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