Ocean City Today

New trash truck rides on sand

Custom-built ‘Beast from East’ now working, holiday weekend will be true test
By Katie Tabeling | Jun 29, 2017
Courtesy of: Hal Adkins

(June 30, 2017) Ocean City’s Public Works Department has changed the game of beach trash collection this summer, when its custom-built truck hit the sand this week.

“We got it three weeks ago, and we’ve been running it at night to see how it works. We put on flotation tires, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s running like a champ,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said. “At a staff level, we’re calling it ‘the Beast of the East.’”

Earlier this year, the City Council authorized spending $298,000 on a custom-built truck that would empty the 800 beach trash containers more efficiently. Instead of asking several manufacturing companies to bid on building a truck, Adkins sought several bids for the cab chassis and the trash compactor body.

The result was one truck with parts from different manufacturers: the cab chassis came from the Peterbilt Store of Seaford, Delaware; the compactor was built by Bridgeport Manufacturers in Texas and the lift suspension upgrade was performed by Mormon-Harrington of Lexington, Kentucky.

Even the flotation tires are unique. All four came from Goodyear, but the rear tires are a 700 series while the front tires are from 610 series.

“We’ve had fun building it, but it’s all about working smarter,” Adkins said. “My goal was that this truck would be able to collect trash from the inlet to the Delaware line without making a stop to dump waste at the transfer 65th Street. I was told by staff on a sunny day with good beach occupancy, it can do that.”

The “Beast from the East” has a 22-cubic yard box with a hydraulic compactor, and is operated by a lever in the cab. Theoretically, the compactor can be stopped after it’s crushed the trash, pulled back, and compact the waste again. Sixty-six cubic yards can fit in the box if the trash is smashed, Adkins said.

Old beach trash trucks weren’t close in terms of capacity or ease of use. The city had three Broyhill Barrel Dumpers that store waste in a detachable box. According to product literature, the Broyhills could hold 28 cubic yards of waste, but Adkins said once the compactor retracted, the waste would fluff out. Typically, beach trash is lightweight items, mostly paper products.

The custom trash truck also means less annoyance to neighbors, as Public Works employees often stashed additional boxes at various points throughout the island. Trash truck operators would often switch a full box for an empty one, leaving the trash container for the Waste Department to pick up around 5 a.m. the next day.

“It’s a lot of noise, and it’s not right to the people living in those areas. I can’t treat the people like that,” Adkins said. “This truck will operate at 2 a.m., and if there’s spillage on the beach, then the beach tractor will pick it up.”

The “Beast from the East” also is operated by one employee, rather than the two-man crew the Broyhills required. The suspension on the custom truck also allows the driver to look in each barrel to see how full it is. That way, the truck driver doesn’t waste time emptying every single can, as was the case with the Broyhills, if they have little trash in them.

Now that the beach truck is on the sand, Adkins said two things remain to be done.

“First, we need to wait for Fourth of July. We won’t be able to prove it can hold trash from the inlet to the Delaware line until then,” he said. “Then, we decide how many Broyhills to sell. We’re going to need at least one in case the [new] truck has a mechanical issue.”

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