Depending on how many litter grates $50,000 will purchase, the Decatur City Council plans to try out the grates in key areas where people congregate or shop in the city.

The council plans to try the grates, estimated to cost between $800 to $1,000 depending on size, as part of a pilot program. The council has said it wants to spend as much as $200,000 on stopping litter and illegal dumping throughout the city.

Council President Paige Bibbee said she wants to try the litter grates “before we spend a lot of money.”

The council is choosing to try litter grates instead of litter traps that cost between $150,000 and $175,000 each, plus ongoing maintenance.

Rickey Terry, director of Environmental Services, said the city has close to 90 hot spots, where the water backs up during a heavy rain event.

Stopping residents from dumping leaves in the drainage system and an education program on littering are keys to stopping the city’s problem, city officials said.

High-use areas such as shopping centers, downtown Decatur, city parks and schools are strategic in stopping trash from flowing to the river, officials said. City Engineer Carl Prewitt will be asked to identify the specific areas.

Terry said his employees would have to keep the grates clean at different hours of the day, or a quick heavy rain could create flooding issue.

“We do a real good job of keeping our drainage clean, but we’ll have to monitor certain areas where two or three clogs could create a problem,” Terry said.

If the grates work and the council decides to add more, Terry said he would need to hire more employees. He also would need to replace a 1988 Vactor truck. A Vactor truck has suction pipes for picking up trash and costs between $200,000 and $300,000.

Bibbee said the city of Mobile is happy with the litter grates it uses, but she asked Terry to look into other options. Mobile’s grates are supplied by Alabama Pipe & Supply Co., of Theodore, which has a patent pending on at least two versions of what it calls a marine debris interceptor.

Alabama Pipe & Supply’s website says the interceptor “targets floatables in storm waters. The interceptors are custom-built for each inlet. The installation of these devices in hot spots allows for a more distributive approach to floatable control … .”

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(1) comment

Ralph Hamn

Cigarette butts on Point Mallard Golf Course. City could put a sign on #1 and #10 tee boxes asking to please to not throw cigarette butts on course. No different that throwing chewing gum or candy wrappers down.

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