The Town of Babylon is adding cameras to all commercial garbage trucks in an effort to help resolve disputes over pickups.
The new system, similar to a dash camera, will automatically take a photo in real time of a dumpster being unloaded, and the driver cannot override it, said Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez. The driver can have the system take additional photos if necessary, he said.
"With more information and better data we are able to provide better service," Martinez said.
The photos will provide evidence in disputes over garbage collection for businesses, Martinez said, saving the town time and manpower to investigate claims. The cameras will also help address any issues with driver performance. Since the town sets the routes, "we are going to be able to know when a driver is deviating from their route," Martinez said.
Babylon is a unique municipality in that the town has its own commercial garbage district and contracts directly with West Babylon-based Winters Bros. The cameras will be placed on seven trucks in Babylon in the coming weeks. The installation fee for the cameras and software is $8,061, and there is an annual fee of $3,900.
The system also includes a scale to weigh the dumpsters, Martinez said, calling the cameras an "inventory tool" for the town.
The cameras will also help the town determine whether a garbage container is in good condition, if it is accessible to the garbage truck, the number of containers being emptied and whether a container is overflowing or is underfilled, Martinez said.
"This creates a real fair system where the ones who are using it the most are paying for the service and those who are using it less, are not paying as much," he said.
Winters Bros. began using cameras in trucks in other municipalities in 2016, said Will Flower, vice president of the company. They are now in 120 commercial trucks, with future plans to install cameras in residential trucks.
"It is a great tool for managing a fleet of vehicles and making sure work is getting done," Flower said in a statement.