May 4, 2022 by Jennefer Klennert
The Public Works Service Operations Division for Bismarck, North Dakota, provides garbage collection services to residential customers in the city – it’s a “take all” approach. To guide its future management approach for garbage collection, the city reached out to our solid waste team at HDR to conduct a study evaluating its collection program. We benchmarked the city against similar communities, performed a sensitivity analysis of potential changes to collection services, and made recommendations for modifications to the collection utility. A lot of our data analysis was streamlined using ArcGIS.
Initially, we worked to identify potential utility modifications to increase collection efficiency and identify a planning tool for the future expansion of the residential collection system. Utility modifications were presented to the city and community members at public input forums. Based on the input, the city decided to modify its collection schedule from five days per week to four, gaining efficiency and cost savings.
The city also wanted to analyze its solid waste collection system specific to its dumpster collection service. Our HDR team assisted the city with an audit of its existing dumpster collection service and subsequent analysis to determine potential modifications to the system that would increase collection efficiency, help with future truck purchasing and increase safety.
Each step helped the city identify opportunities to gain efficiency and refine the program from its former approach that allowed extra garbage to be bagged, boxed, or otherwise contained and placed near the cart for collection.
Documentation of each surveyed location for this study was done with a combination of field observations and in a mobile app called ArcGIS Survey123. Results of the surveys were analyzed both separately and together. 5,018 locations were surveyed during two survey events, which consisted of 4,633 curbside locations and 379 alley locations.
Key findings from the data collected included:
The city found that 86% of residents are following collection guidelines. To manage the collection program even more effectively, our HDR team made a series of recommendations: