MILFORD >> A new, automated garbage collection program, with a new container, called a tote, is in the works.

The totes will be distributed to each household with city trash pickup over four weeks, starting the end of September.

The free, black containers are 96 gallons, although a 48-gallon container may be requested.

“This new program will reduce the amount spent on garbage collection, improve employee safety and provide residents with a clean, convenient and attractive way to dispose of household garbage,” said Mayor Benjamin G. Blake.

The Department of Public Works will begin collecting garbage in the new totes starting the week of Oct. 31.

Until then, department employees will continue manual pickup of barrels.

The city has ordered five new trucks with mechanical hydraulic arms, at a cost of about $270,000 each, Blake said Monday. They went out to bid and should be delivered within the next month.

The totes are city property and are assigned to each household using a serial number that corresponds to the specific address.

If a tote is damaged, lost or stolen, residents may contact the department to buy a new one.

The tote can only be used for garbage, and is the only authorized container that can be used for garbage at the curb. Any household garbage that does not fit in the tote may be brought to the transfer station during regular hours.

Pickups will remain on the same day. Recycling and bulk trash services will not change in any way.

After the program is going, Blake said, people are encouraged to repurpose their old cans. But if they want the city to try to recycle them, they can be left at the curb after Oct. 31.

Now, there are three to four people on each truck, but eventually the new trucks will put it down to two people, then one person, Blake said.

“We’re looking to streamline Public Works through attrition; we’re not going to lay anybody off,” Blake said.

The department will be able to redeploy employees within other Public Works divisions, he said.

Once the program is underway, the city is going to try to enhance its recycling program. The recycling committee is working with the public schools, and new pictorial stickers will be available for all recycling cans that show what can be recycled.

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 203-701-4690 or NewGarbageBins@ci.milford.ct.us.

Details

• The automated garbage trucks have advanced collection technology and the specially designed totes.

► • The 96-gallon tote distributed to residents should handle all reasonable household garbage needs. For those households that wish to use a container smaller than 96-gallons, a 48-gallon tote may be requested by contacting Public Works at 203-701- 4690 or NewGarbageBins@ci.milford.ct.us. ◄ • Place the tote at the curb or where the pavement begins. The arrow molded onto the lid should point toward the city street.

If a container is too far off the curb, and there is a parked car nearby, the truck may not be able to access the tote, and the garbage will not be picked up.

• No curbside container or bag that is not supplied by the city will be picked up.

• Leave at least a 4-foot space between the tote and obstacles, such as the city-supplied recycling bin, street signs, parked cars, hydrants, trees and snow piles, that could obstruct the lifting and dumping of the tote by the truck operator.

The tote will be returned to its original location.

• Do not place liquids of any kind, hazardous waste, flammable items, fluorescent bulbs, tubes, bulky items, recyclables, or any other material other than garbage in the tote.

Organic liquids should be put down the sink, Blake said.

The operator can see what is in the tote as it dumps and will report any violation to the Public Works Department for action.

• The collection system can withstand winds up to 45 mph and the hinged lids are non-removable. The totes have smooth surfaces to impede animals from entering.

• Trash must be bagged, the contents must fit completely inside the tote and the lid must be closed.

• Any items left beside the tote will not be collected.

• Do not mark or write on the tote.