There are 85,000 residents dependent on the waste management services of Lakewood, NJ, Dept. of Public Works. With 12 Heil trucks, including fully automated side loaders, semi-automated rear loaders and front loaders, the department is cost-effectively making its weekly scheduled pickups across the township's 27 sq. mi.

“The biggest challenge we face is keeping our costs low and giving the taxpayers the service they expect,” says John Franklin, director of public works. Going a long way toward meeting that goal is having an all-Heil refuse collection fleet with smart specs and a very responsive sales support team.

Franklin joined the department as director 14 years ago, after retiring from a career in construction. “My background in construction fits well with this job in public works,” he notes. In addition to managing the refuse collection fleet, his responsibilities include budgeting for and overseeing trucks used in the department's recycling services, the parks systems, roads, drainage, building maintenance, snow plowing, leaf pickup, street sweeping, tree trimming and bus services.

“While the majority of our waste collection service is for private residents, about 10% of our work includes commercial businesses downtown, as well as 80 public and private schools and two colleges,” Franklin reports. “For the residential neighborhoods we use six Heil Rapid Rail automated side loaders with 26-yd. bodies. These are very cost-efficient. A single person can pick up 600 to 800 garbage cans a day with them as opposed to having a driver and two men on the back of a truck for non-automated collections.”

Where Heil Rapid Rails cannot be used, such as in condominium complexes and other congested areas, the Public Works Dept. uses four Heil DuraPack 5000 rear loaders, ranging from 25- to 32-yd. bodies. In addition, two Heil Half/Pack front loaders with 28-yd. bodies are used in some townhouse developments. The average age of the waste management fleet is about five years.

“Our Rapid Rail units feature Heil's Operate-In-Gear-At-Idle hydraulics, which save wear and tear on the body and chassis components,” Franklin reports. “It also helps drivers finish routes faster and offers quieter, smoother operation. Plus it saves on fuel consumption.”

The automated side loaders and front loaders are spec'd on a Mack MRU 613 chassis powered by a Mack MP7 345-hp. diesel engine. Equipped with DPF regeneration exhaust systems, the Rapid Rails comply with 2008-2010 federal emissions controls, while the front loaders are 2007 EPA compliant. Rear loaders are spec'd on Mack GU 813 chassis with the Mack MP7 365-hp. engine. All the trucks feature Allison 6-spd. automatic transmissions.

“A real money-saver for us is to make the Heil trucks as multi-serviceable as possible,” Franklin points out. “For example, we've installed the Bayne CTL cart lifter on the rear loaders, which enables us to handle commercial containers from 4 to 8 cu. yd. In the fall, we put a metal shoot on the back of the loader and use it to pick up leaves and brush.”

Another big cost savings for the waste management fleet will come as a result of the recent installation of Bluewater Wireless GPS systems, with service provided by Sprint Nextel. “We're using the GPS to study our current routes and see where drivers may be adding unnecessary miles to their trips,” Franklin explains. “Over the next several months, we should be able to shorten the lengths of those routes, while still servicing all of the homes we currently do.”

A new 154,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art facility that Public Works moved into two years ago is making the department more efficient in everything it does. The John J. Franklin Complex encompasses six buildings on 23 acres. All maintenance is done in-house. Facilities include a welding and a tire maintenance shop.