City buys traps, grates for litter fight

Littering is a constant issue in Lake Charles and across Southwest Louisiana. Wednesday night,...
Littering is a constant issue in Lake Charles and across Southwest Louisiana. Wednesday night, the city council passed updates to an ordinance for littering, which would increase penalties for litterbugs across the city.(KPLC)
Published: Jul. 7, 2019 at 7:31 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) -The fight against litter continues in Decatur with the city’s lease of three Osprey litter collection devices and the purchase of a dozen more litter grates, according to our news partners.

Don Bates, owner and president of Osprey Initiative, said the three litter collection devices the city agreed to lease last week should be installed in about a month. The Osprey device is made of netting, pool noodles and PVC pipe.

“We’ve got to first get through the permitting process with (U.S. Army) Corp of Engineers and Wheeler (National Wildlife) Refuge,” Bates said.

Bates said Wilson Morgan Lake, an area near the Point Mallard Golf Course and Dry Creek are the initial locations for the traps.

“These are tentative sites,” Bates said. “The city will make the final decision on where each goes, but we’re ready to roll.”

The City Council voted unanimously last week to buy two litter collection devices for $15,000 each from Osprey. The company is providing a third device at no charge.

A $10,000 grant from 3M-Decatur will offset a portion of the cost, said city Community Development Supervisor Allen Stover.

As part of the agreement, Osprey will empty and keep the traps operable for at least a year. Bates said in May he also plans to hire a supervisor and possibly other part-time employees to maintain the traps. Terms for subsequent years haven't been negotiated.

Councilman Billy Jackson said the city should create its own litter trap and hire people to maintain them, but City Council President Paige Bibbee said Osprey has a patent on its "Litter Gitter" version of a litter trap.

Bibbee said Osprey plans to separate the items that can be recycled and provide the city with an analysis of the garbage that is collected.

The city initially considered the Bandalong trap, which cost more than $25,000 each. The city would also have had to purchase a truck and possibly hired employees to maintain the more expensive trap.

The City Council also approved the purchase of 12 more litter grates and additional metal covers if needed for a total of $16,070 from Alabama Pipe & Supply.

The city has already purchase 10 litter grates, but only seven are installed, said Rickey Terry, director of Street and Environmental Services.

“They had to redo three of the litter grates because they didn’t fit (the chosen location),” Terry said.

Terry said the city hasn’t had a significant storm that was big enough to test the grates’ effectiveness or whether they will create spot flooding. Street and Environmental Services is responsible for removing trash caught by the grates.

Councilman Chuck Ard said the litter grates and collection devices are part of a multi-faceted fight against litter and garbage. Council members have also discussed with state legislators introducing a bill that increases the fines for littering and illegal dumping.

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