Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Sails into Baltimore

October 2001

When you talk about the solid waste business in Baltimore, you’re talking about two separate and entirely different operations.

Do you mean Baltimore city or county? You need to be specific.

Home of the Inner Harbor, Super Bowl Champions the Baltimore Ravens, and site of WASTECON 2001, Baltimore City resides at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

City Solid Waste Operations

Baltimore city’s government, headed by Mayor Martin O’Malley and a city council, handles the waste requirements of the city’s 651,154 residents. City collection costs total approximately $32 million per year; property taxes foot the bill.

Functioning much like other major city solid waste operations, Baltimore’s Bureau of Solid Waste of the Department of Public Works ensures that trash is picked up from 233,000 households and small businesses twice a week.

The city collects approximately 750 tons of solid waste and recyclables per day. Approximately 90 percent of this total comes from single-family homes, condominiums and apartments. The remaining 10 percent of the waste is from small businesses.

An unusual feature of the city’s collection operations involves the Inner Harbor and the streams that flow into the harbor from the north.

“The Inner Harbor attracts many tourists every year, and most of the attractions are right on the water,” says George Winfield, city public works director.  “To keep the harbor clean, we’ve set up a marine unit.”

The marine operations use two types of refuse collecting boats (both United Marine International TrashCats).  Skimmers collect trash and debris from the surface of the water, with long skimmer arms connected to belts.

The amount of water waste collected by this fleet varies with the season and the severity of the weather during the year. “On average, we probably collect 200 tons of debris from the harbor during the year,” says Joseph Kolodziejski, head of the department of public works bureau of solid waste.

Excerpted from Waste Age Magazine