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Residents In North Santa Rosa County Now Have Optional Curbside Utility

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  Beginning with the New Year, residents in northern Santa Rosa County will have the opportunity to sign up for a new waste and recyclable collection service from Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

Both the ECUA Board and Santa Rosa County Commission approved the program last week. ECUA was the low bidder for the contrac, offering a quarterly charge of $51.27. That beat out the bids from Waste Management and Waste Pro. ECUA’s Nathalie Bowers says the charge will pay for a number of services.

“Twice per week collection of regular household garbage,” said Bowers. “Additionally, it includes yard trash collection every other week, and the collection of bulk waste upon request. Have the customer call, and let our customer service know they need a collection and that will be scheduled.”

The service is strictly voluntary. Anyone signing up will receive a 95-gallon garbage can and/or a same-sized can for recycling. Although recycling pickup is available for all customers, the county commission agreed to ECUA’s idea to provide recycling containers only upon request.

County Administrator Hunter Walker says those opting out of the service will be responsible for transporting waste and debris to the Central Landfill in Milton, or the Jay Transfer Station. They can also choose a smaller provider. The southern part of the county has been franchised for the past three years, as far north as the Yellow River, and that program is doing well.

“When the south end was franchised, the prices were much, much lower,” says Walker. “Since one firm has the entire business so it would be very beneficial there and I expect it to be the same in the north end.”

The service area does not include the City of Milton, Jay or Naval Air Station Whiting Field. What goes on in north Santa Rosa will stay in north Santa Rosa, there’s no change in the current solid waste provider for the south end. Household garbage will be trucked to landfills used by ECUA, while the recycling will be taken to a facility in Montgomery.

ECUA’s Nathalie Bowers says part of their bottom line is expanding the utility’s current 75,000 household customer base in Escambia County, along with its workforce.

“We’re potentially adding up to 30,000 to 33,000 households with the addition of the northern portion of Santa Rosa County,” said Bowers. “We are looking at initially including an extra 20 positions, mostly drivers.”

With the expansion set to begin in January, ECUA and the county are getting the word to eligible residents that the service will begin by January 2nd.

In 2010, the commission franchised residential curbside collection in the south end with two service providers. To determine which provider will service a specific address – north or south -- visit santarosa.fl.gov/solidwaste.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.