New Orleans, LA – Auditing Curbside Collection

One of the many consequences of Hurricane Katrina in the City of New Orleans was the transformation of the solid waste curbside collection landscape. Given the shift and movement of population, the City needed to get a verified house count to ensure accurate and fair invoicing and payment for residential and small business solid waste collection. With that in mind, the City hired GBB, as a subcontractor to the PFM Group, to perform a house count audit under an aggressive schedule.

Over the years, GBB has conducted numerous collection routing analyses, both manually and using computer routing software models. For this New Orleans assignment, two things are critical: first, the house count must be transparent and fully defendable; second, because the house count is changing rapidly due to return of residents, it must be easily and economically updated. GBB is using Global Positioning System (GPS) units to produce an audit trail that documents visual inspection of every residence and small business.

GBB, in association with GCR & Associates of New Orleans, developed a master refuse collection database, which will be referenced for house counts in the field. Postal, condemned property, energy meter, and water meter databases were utilized to ultimately generate a GIS database of prospective refuse collection points.

GBB Team members next collected GPS coordinates to be spatially joined to the prospective refuse collection points. The vehicle of each field surveyor has a GPS with an external antenna mounted on the outside of the vehicle and a dashboard interface for triggering the marking of XY coordinates for each refuse collection point.

GBB then develop an accurate, verifiable, and transparent “Update Procedure” methodology for the master collection database that the City can use in the future to update the waste set-out database.

Finally, GBB produced a report including descriptions of the survey and verification methodologies, the number of residences and small businesses in each contract area that require service, and instructions for updating the electronic database. The end result for New Orleans was an accurate, updatable database of locations receiving waste collection services that will ensure fair and proper billing.