So it seems that during this whole COVID-19 pandemic were really seeing who the important front line employees are and they don't seem to be gender studies professors or community organizers.
However people seem to be leaning on grocery stores and garbage haulers an awful lot these days which is why I am proud to start our new project. Los Angeles Department of Sanitation Founded 1957
This is a project I've always wanted to do, and that's a history of Los Angeles Department of Sanitation, which unlike DSNY is a much much newer department being that Los Angeles is a much much newer city then New York and where DSNY was established in the late 1800s LADOS wasn't established until 1957 it's really a pretty new department and runs differently then DSNY, for some reason I'd like to go to both Los Angeles and New York City for like a day just to say I was there. Los Angeles, Department of Sanitation is the second largest department of Sanitation in the United States and what's different about LA from NYC is Los Angeles, there equipment is much more modern because the city is way newer. Cleveland, Ohio was a bigger city then Los Angeles was until about the 1950s then Los Angeles started booming.
Los Angeles had no real garbage collection plan enacted until 1957. The only thing the city really did was collect food waste and other goofy non-combustable waste but it was on a strange schedule that didn't really make sense and didn't work for mostly anyone.
What happened in the 1950s was smog started up and the way people in LA got rid of trash was to use house hold back yard incinerators. Well 2 million people using back yard incinerators and open air trash dumps which went out of style in the 1950s anyhow and were making way for sanitary landfills.
Anyhow a bond issue was passed in Los Angeles to build 2 incinerators and in 1957 The City of Los Angeles established the Los Angeles Department of Sanitation and rolled out the program one city district and neighborhood at a time. Gone were the days of back yard incinerators. As Los Angeles was headed into a new era.
I will say this LA has nice equipment. There trucks are always clean and in good shape.
Municipal Garbage History: Los Angeles Department of Sanitation Founded 1957
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Source: Classic Refuse Trucks
You guys ever go on Classic Refuse Trucks.com great website the owner of that site has put in some major major time.
So what was happening was in the 1940s and stuff,there was a mix of private haulers and inconsistent pick up by the city of food waste and stuff.
Anyhow, as the war broke out the all the private refuse haulers were in the war and garbage collection in Los Angeles which was inconsistent anyhow went by the way side.
So what happened in LA was back yard incinerators.Post World War 2 there was no uniformed city wide garbage collection. Everyone was using back yard incinerators.
Now for a while this was okay, but all of a sudden the city fathers were looking around going, huh why is there a bunch smog in the sky and also why is the fire department getting so many fire calls.
So, what happened was in the middle 1950s the city fathers gathered together and said it's time to create there own garbage service. They passed a bond issue to build a couple incinerators and then the city moved on to roll out first garbage collection. The first thing they did was buy 8 different styles of collection trucks and test them. The program was originally a pilot program. But it ended up taking full swing when the city over night banned back yard incinerators. The interesting thing about LA was unlike cities in the mid-west and where ever where the cities grew gradually and the services could adapt and grow with the times. The city of LA had to create garbage pick up for 2 million residents over night. It's a pretty big job to set up a service like that over night.
So where were we, oh yes, the LA fire department, in the late 1950's answered over 500 calls for back yard fires caused by incinerators and open air fire pit dumps which were popular in the 1950s were causing problems, however open air dumps were starting to become a thing of the past by the 1950s, because they were becoming a public health concern.
Anyhow, the city fathers of LA had, had enough and decided it was time to go another way.
So due to changing conditions over a 5 year period the City of Los Angeles decided it was time to take it on. They had 2.5 million people and 800,000 homes to collect garbage from.
First thing they did was pass a bond issue for 2 new incinerator buildings.
Then the city got to work they bought 8 trucks, front loaders, side loaders and rear loaders. Then they tested them to see which one's carried the most tonnage.
They eventually settled on the first generation Leach R1
This was a tilt body truck:
Also it was 20 yard body which was at the time a bigger size for a municipal garbage truck considering most trucks at the time were 13-18 yards, but Los Angeles is almost as big as the state of Rhode Island and between the length of haul from the routes to the incinerator or landfill and also the fact that LA wanted to get the most tonnage as they could they went with the Leach rear loaders 20 yard capacity because it could pack the most weight at the time.
Early front loader from the pilot program in the harbor area of LA circa 1954.
Anyhow the team at LA city hall got to work and trained and recruited men to collect the garbage and the city purchasing agent put out for bids on equipment and the city PR team let citizens know the rules and the rules pretty much were besides major tree trunks, if it's on the curb they will pick it up. So they procured equipment and balanced the routes and the day came for pick up.
Obviously the first day of trash pick up had some hold ups they always do, but they have
"turn arounds" that's where the first guys back to the yard come in and empty out and then head back out to do more. Usually skips or routes that couldn't get collected or over shoots.
Anyway, what takes time is, at the yard the trucks have to be weighed and millage calculated and that takes, time, but that's the only way to balance a route. If the route is to big then they may need to take something off of it.
Great history lesson. I love it. Very cool they used the White 3000. You’d figure they would have tried to have Peterbilt build them something since the orginal plant was still in Oakland at the time. Did the sanitation dept. hang on to any of that old history to put in a local museum like LAFD did with a few fire trucks? Cool post!
Today, a lot of there trucks are flat nose Peterbilts and while they are bigger then the ones they had back then, they still have a couple pack rats in the fleet for some of the hillier hair pin turn routes.
I don't know if any of there old equipment was saved or not. Around the 1960s the White Compacts began to arrive in the fleet. LA went through quite a few different trucks and bodies they never kept just one truck or body. They started with the Leaches for bodies and went over to Heil and they kind of went back and fourth between White and International.
Were the first International’s they used the V-series. They shared that cab with Diamond-T. They were both very popular back then. They used the T’s for refuse and fire in some of the ritzier parts of cities because they had a little more fancier stainless steel trim on them. Lol.
Diamond T 734CG
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