Chapter 10 – Safe and Efficient Operations

Goal 3

Operate collection services safely and efficiently.

This chapter presents the objectives and strategies for improving the Utility’s overall management, operational effectiveness and safety. The objectives and strategies are in response to challenges and opportunities described in Chapter 7.

As described in Chapter 5, Waste ReSources has made major improvements in its management and operation, and plans to continue to do so over the next six years. Improvements include an alternating every-other-week residential collection system, automated residential pick-up, single-stream recycling, emphasis on site plan review, driver training, and safety talks. In addition, the Utility began implementing one-side road pick up. These changes resulted in fewer, or less severe injuries and incidents and the ability to serve more customers with the same or fewer trucks and drivers. Chapter 5 describes these efficiencies in detail. The objectives and strategies planned to accomplish this goal are discussed below.

Objective 3A Implement routing and service changes that increase operational efficiencies and maintain or improve service reliability.

Regular removal of waste provides both public and environmental health benefits and contributes to the cleanliness and attractiveness of Olympia. Annually, Waste ReSources crews drive about 250,000 miles and use about 70,000 gallons of fuel to serve roughly 13,600 residential and 1,200 commercial customers. Waste ReSources crews drive 500 lane miles multiple times every week, and collect from each residential and commercial customer at least once a week.

Successful implementation of this objective will result in nearly one-third of residential customers moving to one-side road collection; consolidating customer accounts in dense, difficult to serve parts of the City; increased use of technology; and planning for service interruptions due to severe storms, earthquakes or other disasters.

Resource needs (trucks and drivers) were analyzed and projected in Residential and Commercial Service Studies (Appendix 5). Estimates in growth and planned service changes suggest the need to add one additional residential truck and driver in the next two to three years. Implementing commercial recycling may accelerate the need to add resources, if customers subscribe at a faster or higher level than projected in these studies.

Result Measure 10-1 Number of Trucks and Staff


Number of Trucks & Staff

Baseline 2013

13 Trucks and 16 Collectors

Target 2020

14 Trucks and 17 Collectors

Strategy 3A1 Continue implementing one-side road collection to the greatest extent possible.

One-side road collection began as a pilot in 2012 and is now being implemented citywide, where possible. The focus is on small area neighborhoods and neighborhood streets. Each new area requires creating a new drive path and customer communication.

Strategy 3A2 Continue to pursue automated GIS routing systems and on-board scales for collection trucks.

This longer-term strategy relies on the ability to have the City’s utility billing database communicate with a third party program and graphically represent these data on a map. This work requires coordination with the City’s Information Technology team. Continue to evaluate on-board scale technology.

Strategy 3A3 Continue evaluating and refining routes and drive paths to eliminate overlap.

To accommodate growing numbers of customers, particularly with annexations and large new developments, routes and drive paths have to be adjusted. Waste ReSources uses a computerized program, ZONAR, to track vehicle drive paths. This tool, along with route maps and driver knowledge, is used to periodically refine and balance routes.

Strategy 3A4 Explore developing centralized garbage, recycling and organics collection areas for Downtown businesses.

Establishing central waste collection areas in Downtown could eliminate multiple pickups from dumpsters in alleys and other hard to access areas, and reduce the need for less cost-effective rear-load collection trucks. Waste ReSources will work with Downtown businesses to identify potential locations and create a shared cost system.

Strategy 3A5 Continue to coordinate with City’s Fleet Services to evaluate options for alternative fuels and hybrid collection vehicles.

Fuel has historically been a big factor for Waste ReSources. As trucks wear out and get replaced, the Utility will work with Fleet Services to seek alternatives, such as hybrid vehicles, that will reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Strategy 3A6 Create an emergency response plan for how Waste ReSources will manage disaster debris and interruptions to collection services.

An emergency plan will formalize Utility procedures, based on past events and learning. It will describe the basic steps for managing excess waste and interruptions in collection and disposal.

Objective 3B Reduce the number of incidents and accidents.

Waste ReSources collectors regularly maneuver large vehicles in and out of tight spaces, and operate all day long, often in heavy traffic and poor lighting conditions. This puts drivers at risk for incidents and accidents. Driver training, site plan review and direct customer interaction help minimize this risk. Because of the large number of miles driven and challenging conditions, getting to zero incidents/accidents is an ambitious objective but worth pursuing. Waste ReSources records all incidents, no matter how minor. This helps identify where to focus safety efforts, whether it be training or changing physical conditions.

Result Measure 10-2 Number of Accidents


Number of Accidents

Baseline 2013


Target 2020


Strategy 3B1 Continue to ensure all Waste ReSources collectors are International Academy for Professional Driving (IAPD) certified.

All Waste ReSources collectors are certified through the IAPD program. Certification requires an annual refresher course. Two Waste ReSources drivers are trained instructors. Since the City began certifying drivers in 2009, driver incidents have reduced significantly.

Strategy 3B2 Continue participating in site plan review to ensure adequate space and access to garbage, recycling and composting containers.

Waste ReSources staff will continue to work with the City’s Community Planning and Development Department to make sure each new and remodeled building has adequate space for trucks to access containers.

Strategy 3B3 Continue to work with customers directly to eliminate unsafe conditions.

Waste ReSources collections staff regularly identify and evaluate unsafe conditions. Most issues are related to commercial and multi-family garbage collection. Once identified, issues can be prioritized and resolved.