The 411 On The Town’s New Trash Collection System

Photo: A 64-gallon bin being lifted into an automated trash collecting truck.

Note: Below is a letter from the Belmont Department of Public Works with details on the new automated trash collection system approved by the Board of Selectmen.

At their meeting this past Monday, Sept. 25, the Board of Selectmen voted in favor for the Department of Public Works to obtain competitive bids for automated trash collection. This change in service will require residents to place their trash in the provided 64-gallon wheeled cart and set in front of their residence. After the RFP is put out in October and a hauler is chosen there will be information on more specific details. However at this time here are the known details: 

This change in service will require residents to place their trash in the provided 64-gallon wheeled cart and set in front of their residence. After the Request For Proposal is put out in October and a hauler is chosen there will be information on more specific details.

However at this time here are the known details: 

  • Only trash will have automated collection 
  • The Town will provide wheeled 64-gallon containers. There will be a consideration for residents that have concerns maneuvering their carts to the curb. DPW will set up a home evaluation to determine the best method to accommodate the resident. 
  • The option to buy an overflow bag will be available. 

The selectman also voted for the following curbside services to be bid on the next contract. All of the services will remain the same except for bulky items. Residents will now only be allowed one bulky item per week and it must be scheduled through the DPW Office. Residents are now doing this for CRT’s and appliances. 

  • One bulky item per week 
  • Every other week dual stream recycling collection 
  • CRT’s (televisions, computer monitors and laptops) 
  • Appliances 
  • Yard waste collection 

The Belmont DPW feels that the automated collection with 64-gallon carts will balance Belmont residents’ expectations between services, costs and environmental impacts. This will put the Town in a better position now and in the future. 

There will be additional detail information with more specific details in the months after the RFP is awarded. Any questions or suggestions, please contact Mary Beth Calnan/Belmont Recycling Coordinator at or 617-993-2689.

Belmont’s DPW Drivers Get A Simulating Lesson on Snow Plowing [VIDEO]

Photo: Vincent Nestor in the simulator

Joe Foti is holding steady at 55 mph in the cab of a snow plow as it glides down a stretch of road during a blizzard.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car comes out of his blind spot on the left side of the truck.

As the Belmont Water Division employee puts on the breaks, over his right shoulder a voice booms out: “You gotta go, Joe. Keep it at 55, Joe. Let’s go, Joe.”

From over his left shoulder, another voice tells Foti to “answer your cell phone. Where is it? It’s next to you.” As Foti reaches for the phone, a truck in the oncoming lane swerves towards him. As he turns the steering wheel, the voice to this right yells, “You’re thirsty, Joe. Grabbed that water bottle.”

With a cell phone in one hand, Foti reaches for the center console when out of the steady falling snow he suddenly spots a parked SUV in front of this speeding truck.

“Look out, Joe” he hears, as his seat is being pushed back and forth as he hits the passenger vehicle.

For Foti and more than a dozen driver who push snow and spread sand and salt on town roadways, the combination of nightmarish senarios did not take place on town streets but in the driving simulator that was located in the Belmont Department of Public Works Yard last month. 

The employees drove through a number of driving challenges with the help of two instructors – the voices behind Foti’s shoulders – who spoke of best practices and tips on driving a big truck safely in bad New England winter weather.

The simulator came from L-3 Technologies, an international firm that provides real-world driving environments that can be configured for multiple vehicle types, including snowplow trucks, tractors, dump trucks, heavy-duty trucks and tractor trailers.

The training was part of a $10,000 grant from the DPW’s insurance company, said Michael Santoro, the town’s Highway Department manager who first the simulator in action four years ago at a public works conference.

For DPW employee Vincent Nestor, the training “is pretty lifelike and I will take this training to the job.” 


Mack Truck Takes A Pleasant Street Tumble, Halting AM Traffic Into Center

Photo: Speed may have been a factor in the one-vehicle accident near Belmont Center on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Late morning traffic came to a halt at one of the busiest town intersection when a dump truck carrying gravel took a tumble sometime before 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Pleasant and Leonard streets, on Thursday, Aug. 25.

No injuries were reported in the one-vehicle accident that shut down the busy intersection for nearly three hours as it took two heavy duty tow trucks to right the rig.

According to an eyewitness, speed was possibly the culprit leading up to the mishap. The Mack truck operated by Ritacco Bros. of Millbury was traveling down the steep slope of Clifton Street attempting to make the right hand turn onto Pleasant Street. Apparently, the truck was going too fast to navigate the corner and tipped onto its driver’s side.

Belmont Fire quickly arrived at the scene – the accident location is one block from the Leonard Street firehouse – and police closed to traffic on Pleasant in both directions.

Waltham Auto Tow arrived and successfully righted the truck at 10:10 a.m. Belmont Public Works’ Highway Division removed the gravel and inspected the roadway. The streets were opened about an hour later.

Belmont Police said any citations for possible traffic violations leading up to the accident would be issued once a formal investigation is completed by the department’s Traffic Division.

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Automated ‘Smart’ Water Meters in Belmont By 2020

Photo: A typical automated water meter.

You can do your banking, book a vacation and buy your groceries with your smartphone. So, the town of Belmont want to know, why not pay a monthly water bill while monitoring your water usage all via the same phone?

By 2020, Belmont residents will have that option as the Water Division of the town’s Department of Public Works replaces the old manual-recorded meters currently in use with “smart” meters over the next three years. The new meters will be installed at no cost to consumers.

The plan, announced by DPW chief Jay Marcotte at Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Monday, March 28, will piggyback existing technology created by Belmont Light in its metering system, reading data via radio frequencies. 

The $2.75 million project – paid through the Water Division’s retained earnings – will take between 12 to 18 months to implement as contractors install between 20 to 30 new meters each business day, said Marcotte.

Other communities are moving towards wireless reading including Melrose, Lincoln, Wellesley and Woburn. 

The advantage of using 21st-century technology in recording utility usage is “a no-brainer,” said Mike Bishop, Water Division manager. For his department, it will bring efficiencies such as reading meters from a central location rather than sending meter readers to each residence or business. It will also be used as an “early warning system” to identify possible leaking pipes when a spike in usage levels.

For customers, it will allow for monthly billing which will provide resident and commercial users more reliable data on water consumption.

“It will allow our customers to do things like creating ‘red flags’ in which the meter will inform you if you exceed a certain usage level for a specific month. You then will be able to monitor a history of what you are using on your smartphone which will improve conservation of water in town,” said Bishop. 

DPW’s ‘Drop Off’ Recycling Day, Saturday, Oct. 24


The Belmont Department of Public Works is giving Belmont residents the chance to recycle items and material hard to place in the blue/green bins.

On Saturday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DPW’s Town Yard at 37 C Street, the DPW will take the following items from residents with ID:

Electronics: Small appliances, cell phones, iPods, cables, keyboards, hard drives. There is a $15 fee for monitors, laptops and TVs.

Bulky rigid plastic: old toys, lawn furniture, milk cartons, large water containers, buckets.

Textiles: Blankets, drapes, curtains, all sorts of clothes, sweaters, shoes. 

Styrofoam: coffee cups, coolers, pipe insulation, packing blocks and “peanuts” and bubble wrap.


Books, CDs, DVDs: Up to five boxes of books, no self-made CDs or DVDs (keep your mix tapes at home).

Paper shredding: There will be a portable shredder that will destroy all you personal records.

For more information, cal 617-933-2689.

The Aftermath: How to Get Rid of All That Holiday Cardboard in Belmont

Now that all your holiday presents are unwrapped, the Highway Division of the Belmont Public Works Department asks that residents recycle all of their cardboard in the following way:

  • All boxes must be flattened with a dimension smaller than 3 feet by three feet (3’X3′) about the size of your average four year old.
  • The cardboard must be cut, not folded, to make the above measurement.
  • If you have a great deal of cardboard, tie or tape them in stacks not higher than nine inches wide. Residents can leave an unlimited number of stacks for pickup.