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ODOT Gets Creative When Collecting Trash

ODOT plans to use these Vactor trucks more to clear highways and interstates of litter.

Cincinnati is now cleaner following the removal of more than 1,000 bags of trash over the weekend in a Keep Cincinnati Beautiful event.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) looks to take the effort a step further with two initiatives and new specialized trucks. In one case, spokesman Brian Cunningham says ODOT has partnered with three social service agencies to help the homeless when their camps have to be removed.

He says, "We have to do bridge inspections and bridge improvements and so we're trying to work with the social service entities to identify where we will have projects going on and allow them to get out and see if they can reach these before we have to have law enforcement come in and remove them."

This plan has not yet been fully implemented. These organizations are involved in the effort:

  • Strategies to End Homelessness
  • Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services
  • Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center

In addition, ODOT is providing the money for a vehicle and a guard so prisoners at the Lebanon Correctional Institute can collect trash.
ODOT has also purchased a new Vactor truck and is renting another one for trash removal.  They act like giant shop vacs, sucking up debris and water. The waste is stored in a holding tank at a Hamilton County garage until the water evaporates or drains and the debris goes to Rumpke.

Cunningham says the expanded use of this equipment will allow fewer employees to cover more ground. In southwest Ohio alone, ODOT says it collects one million pounds of trash annually from highways and interstates. The number is 4 million statewide.