City Proposes Changes to Grappler Service

1 May 2015

Carlsbad - May 2015 - Pending approval by City Council, the City of Carlsbad’s Solid Waste Department will soon be moving into an on-call schedule for its grappling service.

The department’s grappler is used for bulk trash and yard waste collection for city residents.

If City Council agrees, residents are requested to call 3-1-1 or the Solid Waste Department at (575) 885-0042 at least 48 hours in advance to be put on the grapple’s pickup route.  If residents don’t call, the city won’t know to schedule a pick-up.

“What has been suggested in our solid waste audit, and endorsed by the Board of Solid Waste Commissioners, is a model that will improve efficiency and reduce cost, but ultimately also be more convenient for our residents,” stated City Administrator Steve McCutcheon.

The previous system involved three grapple trucks each patrolling separate regions of the city to cleanup larger items.  Under the new plan, a single grappler will handle the entire town, but on a much more efficient schedule.

“It’s a case of higher efficiency and better customer service,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway. “We’re asking for the public’s help in calling us first, but in return we expect to be able to get to you more quickly, since we’re focusing on where we need to go, and we will also reduce costs. It’s a win-win.”

Additionally, under the new plan, items left for grappler pick up should now be placed in the front of the caller’s property, close to the curb or edge of the pavement without impeding traffic or blocking the sidewalk or street, instead of in the alley. Items should also remain on the individual’s own property, and not be leaned unsafely against other objects or placed under power lines.

If approved, the on-call grappling system would likely begin as early as Monday, June 29, 2015.   McCutcheon noted that some specifics of the transition are still in development, but updates will be released to the public on the City of Carlsbad’s web page and in future press releases.  The City will continue to work closely with the public to make sure the transition occurs smoothly, he said. Anyone with specific questions is asked to call the City’s 3-1-1 line or the Solid Waste Department at (575) 885-0042, or email

Savings estimates for this proposed plan are around $160,000 annually in reduced fuel and staffing. There will be no lost jobs if the plan is approved, since new positions have been approved by council for the convenience station, and there are also currently vacancies within the department.

As a final reminder, the grappler service is residential only, and contracted landscapers are responsible for removing their own debris.