When Jeff Earl, fleet maintenance manager at County Waste & Recycling Service, talks about “staying ahead of technology,” he has a few things in mind. “Each year we replace a portion of our fleet and we've been growing as well,” he says. “Every set of new vehicles is a bit different, something that can present challenges in both operations and maintenance.”
Based near Albany in Clifton Park, NY, County Waste & Recycling Service is one of the area's largest privately owned waste and recycling companies, serving more than 180,000 residential and about 11,000 commercial and industrial customers in the Capital/Saratoga region and adjoining areas of Massachusetts.
Recycling operations are handled by about two-thirds of the company's 300-truck fleet. To keep the average age of its equipment to a low 1.8 years, Earl says the company purchases between 60 and 100 new trucks annually for both replacement and growth. Most recent acquisitions have been Mack MR Series and newer TerraPro Cabovers supplied through Albany Mack Sales. The trucks are fitted with refuse and recycling bodies manufactured by Labrie Environmental Group and Bridgeport Truck Manufacturing.
“We were one of the first refuse companies in the U.S. to use the automated collection equipment that is now standard in many places,” Earl states. “That has meant adding automated recycling container handling devices and a mix of single and dual cavity refuse bodies to our trucks, and learning how to optimize their performance and reliability.”
With its trucks on the front lines of recycling programs in the communities it serves, County Waste & Recycling goes to great lengths to keep up its equipment's appearance. “At all of our shops we have a program to wash our trucks daily,” Earl says. “Clean vehicles not only project a very positive image of our company; our technicians prefer a clean vehicle to work on.”
WASHING MADE EASY
Earl admits that using handheld pressure washers and having personnel spend up to two hours to thoroughly clean a truck is time-consuming and expensive. About three years ago, to address that concern at its main location, the company invested in an automated truck washing facility.
“We were building a new 21-bay, 40,000-sq.-ft. facility,” Earl explains, “so we decided to turn our old shop into a wash facility. Now, at the end of every day, drivers go through the wash bay and refuel trucks before they park them.”
County Waste & Recycling chose the DyChem Automated Fleet Cleaning System for its wash facility. The drive-through solution uses a two-phase application of ecologically safe and biodegradable chemicals and high pressure rinsing to clean vehicles without surfaces being damaged by brushes.
“The entire wash and rinse cycle takes only 45 to 60 seconds and consumes just 125 to 150 gals. of water, much of which is captured, filtered and reused,” Earl says. “The savings in labor alone will pay for this system in very little time while we're also getting a very complete cleaning done on our equipment. That's also important to us because corrosion has become a much bigger issue.”
Earl's concerns are well-founded. The increasingly corrosive environment for vehicles is partly caused by the use of new types of deicing chemicals. Those solutions are applied to roadways prior to a snowfall. They cling to vehicles and by their very nature attract and absorb moisture.
“It's our goal to provide quality and cost-effective waste and recycling collection services to our customers,” Earl says. “While we need to always stay ahead of the technology curve in many areas of our business, we are working especially hard to field clean and efficient equipment.”