When it comes to waste collection, “garbage in, garbage out” is more than a cute saying. Success in this vocation requires nothing less than unstintingly reliable equipment.

Walton, Ky.-based Bavarian Waste Service is a five-generations-old family firm that provides waste hauling and disposal services in Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area.

The firm dates back to 1901. Among the family members running the business today are sales manager Rick Brueggemann and his brother, operations manager Steve Brueggemann.

Bavarian fields 45 trucks: eight are roll-off units for hauling construction debris, four are front-loaders for picking up containers, and the balance are rear-loaders for residential collections.

“Our biggest challenge is providing trucks in good operating condition day after day,” says Steve Brueggemann. “We have round-the-clock shifts to work on the trucks while their operators are at home.”

The fleet is a mix of Fords, Volvos and Freightliners powered by Detroit, Cat and Cummins engines. “We normally spec more horsepower — 350 to 425 — than others,” says Brueggemann.

While Bavarian is “moving toward” Allison automatics, Brueggemann says most of the drivers are not enthused. On the other hand, Brueggemann hasn't yet observed any less wear and tear on trucks so equipped.

But he figures they may come in handy as new drivers come onboard. “With the applicants we have today, I can't count on them being truck drivers.”

As for bodies, Bavarian now buys only McNeilus packers. “They started out building concrete mixers and have designed a refuse body we expect to last eight to ten years, or twice as long as others we've run.”

Maintenance is performed by eight full-time mechanics on three overlapping shifts. Cornerstones of the PM program are daily pre- and post-trip inspections as well as weekly washing of equipment, both for beauty's sake and to help catch small problems. “We feel we strive a little harder than our competition in all areas,” says Rick Brueggemann, “especially in how we operate and care for our trucks.”

Although part of a municipal system, the waste operation overseen by F.I. “Ric” Hiller and Carl Newby is no less dependent on reliable equipment.

Hiller, chief of the equipment division for the County of Arlington, Va., regards Newby, chief of the county's sold waste division, as “a major customer” of his maintenance operation.

According to Newby, about half the waste-collection chores are contracted to private haulers, which provide an effective benchmark for the county's cost of operations.

The county's semi-automated, 37-cu.-yd. side loaders serve five major residential collection routes. The latest of these dual-steer, low-entry trucks consists of McLain packer bodies mounted on CraneCarrier cab/chassis.

Rounding out the front-line fleet is a Leach rear-loader that is used for special, heavy-duty refuse pickups. Two backup trucks are on hand in case any of the side-loaders gets sidelined by repairs. The trucks are powered by big-bore Cummins diesels and all have been fitted with Allison automatics since 1977.

Hiller sees his group's support role as crucial to the mission Newby's department carries out. “It's critical to Carl to have the vehicles when he should, so he doesn't have to incur overtime and so his operators don't have to deal with evening traffic.”

The county's heavy-duty shop handles the refuse trucks. “The second shift mainly does PM,” says Hiller, “but they are also trained to work on the refuse bodies.”

The county employs heavy-duty specs, such as high-tensile steel and ribbing on the sloped floor of the hopper, to get the most of its bodies.

A high-tech innovation both Newby and Hiller endorse is the mounting of rearview cameras to aid operators when backing up. “Their prices have dropped,” Newby notes, “and since installing them two years ago, we haven't had a back-up accident.”