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Riverhead to install Wi-Fi trash bins at beaches this summer

The receptacles will provide beachgoers with Wi-Fi access and alert the town sanitation department when the bins are full.

Beachgoers at South Jamesport Beach, seen on Friday,

Beachgoers at South Jamesport Beach, seen on Friday, have complained that garbage bins routinely overflow. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Riverhead is planning to roll out new trash receptacles that will have the triple duty of accepting garbage, providing Wi-Fi service at beaches and signaling sanitation workers that the bins are full.

New Wi-Fi trash compactors will be placed next month at two popular beaches in Riverhead — South Jamesport and Iron Pier — to help cut down on overflowing trash during the summer, town officials said. The installations will serve as a trial program that, if successful, could see more receptacles placed at other Riverhead beaches.

Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, the town board’s liaison for the town’s sanitation department, said the two beaches were picked in part due to complaints in previous years of overflowing bins during the summer.

“This will hopefully prevent litter and waste from polluting our beaches,” Giglio said.

In addition to providing beachgoers with wireless service that has been lacking at those beaches, the trash bins — provided by Needham, Massachusetts-based waste management company Bigbelly Inc. to Riverhead for free — would send a wireless signal to sanitation workers alerting them to when the bins are full. The bins, which are normally emptied twice a week, will also provide the town with long-term data on the volume of waste collected at those beaches. Officials said the new equipment could reduce manpower costs and other pickup-related expenses.

According to Deputy Town Attorney Ann Marie Prudenti and other Riverhead officials, once installed, Bigbelly representatives told them Riverhead would be the first community on Long Island to use Wi-Fi trash bins produced by the company. Bigbelly will collect fees through an partnership with a wireless service provider, officials said.

Bigbelly representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Prudenti said Giglio and Town Engineer Drew Dillingham last year tried to come up with solutions to cut down on garbage and litter in town park facilities. In March, Bigbelly reached out to the town to discuss installing trash compactor units at beaches at a variety of places in Riverhead, including beaches, parks and the downtown area.

Officials have said Wading River Beach on Creek Road could be the next location for a Wi-Fi trash bin, but they are holding off until they can determine how to fill in cell service gaps there.

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