Baltimore residents will be given a choice between a small or large trash can under a $9 million program to help control the rat population, officials said Tuesday.
Rudy S. Chow, director of the Department of Public Works, said some residents were worried that the 65-gallon receptacles originally planned for all households would be too big for some parts of the city. Chow said some residents can request one half that size.
Rowhouse owners whose garbage is collected from the front of their homes — who have no exterior storage space and live in a dense block — can call 311 to request a 35-gallon receptacle. Requests made after Feb. 19 might not qualify.
Distribution of the cans that come with tight-fitting lids and wheels is expected to begin in late February under a plan to make neighborhoods cleaner. The city's dump trucks will be fitted with lifts to cut down on the number of workers who are injured lifting the cans.
A pilot program showed that calls for rat extermination dropped dramatically in the study areas and fewer workers reported injures.
All properties with curbside waste collection in the city will automatically receive a durable 65-gallon can at no charge to them. Officials expect it to take up to six months for all households to receive their can.
The cans will remain the city's property and must be left at the residence when the property owner or renter moves out. A tracking device is embedded in the cans.
Damaged and stolen cans should be reported to 311. People should submit a police report using a serial number to avoid being charged for a new can. Forms can be found on the Police Department's website.
The amount the city will charge for a replacement can has not yet been released.
Residents can bring their old cans to any of the city's drop-off centers for recycling.
Trash collection dates will not change.
The administration has said the goal is to offset the expense with savings to the rat abatement program and from workers' compensation claims.
Update: An earlier version of this article did not correctly describe how the city would pay for the trash cans.