After experiencing a large growth in its customer base – and with more gains expected – Houston County officials plan to add more garbage pickup routes soon.

During a budget meeting Monday, chief county engineer Barkley Kirkland said subdivision growth in Wicksburg and Rehobeth has greatly increased new sanitation service requests. County administrative officer Peter Covert said the Houston County Sanitation Department currently has about 12,360 customers, a number that has increased by 242 since the beginning of the fiscal year in October 2018.

“We have so many people moving out there (Wicksburg and Rehobeth),” Kirkland said. “We can’t keep up right now.”

In order to establish the new routes, Kirkland said the county will need an extra automated garbage truck and driver. If approved, the county would operate six routes twice a week and five routes on the other two workdays.

The request would increase the county garbage truck fleet to seven, leaving one spare available in case another truck experiences mechanical issues.

New automated garbage trucks would need to be approved and ordered as soon as possible since delivery of the equipment could take up to 16 months, Kirkland said. With a few subdivisions expected to be completed in the next six months, the need for extra routes will only grow, he added.

Sanitation officials have been monitoring the population expansion in the county, and said it has exploded in the past two years. From October 2016 to May 2019, the county added 1,027 customers, according to numbers Covert provided.

The county offers garbage services to all residents who live outside of Dothan, Ashford, Columbia, and Gordon.

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