"Mash" Unit

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Workers have had to empty the downtown trash containers as much as three times a day. Otherwise, they can attract insects and other pests. The two trash containers installed last week near Bicentennial Park compact as much as 180 gallons of trash into one bag. The Wood County Solid Waste Authority decided late last year to give them a try.

"The board of directors decided to put two in, to test them, to make sure they're efficient and save the money we think they will save," says authority director John Reed. "If so, the board of directors agreed to pay 50% of the cost to the cities of Parkersburg, Williamstown or Vienna, anybody desiring to put them in."

The city of Parkersburg is the first municipality in the Mountain State, in which they've been put to use.

"The only other program in place right now is West Virginia University," Reed says. "They put ten of them around their campus recently, and they just notified me they're getting ready to put in an additional order."

If there's a controversy about them, it's that they cost $4,000 apiece. Reed says the money for them came from tonnage fees collected from waste haulers who use the northwestern landfill.

"In this particular project, there were no tax dollars used...it was just fees from the landfill."

As of Monday, workers had not yet had to empty the solar-powered containers.

The city staff is notified by text message as to when the unit is filled and the compacted trash is ready to be picked up.

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