Students recommend methods to improve Apache Junction’s residential solid waste management system

Research of city complaints and environmental impacts help ASU Project Cities students refine the City’s solid waste management practices

Author

Devin R. Larsen

Contributors

Steve Russell, Marshall Curry

Metrics

Community
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
Community Size
41,739 (2018 Census Estimation)
University
Arizona State University
Program
Project Cities
Years
2017/2018
Status
Completed
Case Type
Individual Project
Region
EPA Region 9, USA

For many years, the City of Apache Junction has had a limited approach when it came to managing residential solid waste. Recently, the City has become aware that its hands-off strategy has led to recurring solid waste issues, including “illegal dumping and storage of solid waste on residential properties.” (PC 2017 Guide) Due to complaints surrounding these solid waste issues, Apache Junction determined they must improve current policies to better the quality of life for their growing population and to limit environmental health impacts. 

Apache Junction sought assistance from Project Cities at Arizona State University to help identify existing and potential issues within the City’s current solid waste management policies, along with creating recommendations to mediate issues in the interest of its citizens and environment. 

Project Cities connected city staff with faculty and their courses. A member of the EPIC-Network, ASU’s Project Cities “connects higher education with local communities” (from ASU Project Cities site) to co-create sustainable solutions which progress cities toward a better future.

Public affairs capstone students reviewed and evaluated the solid waste management program at Apache Junction through a combination of program evaluation, policy analysis and peer community analyses. Specifically, the students examined the city’s fee structures, “free dump week” program, and private hauler contracts.

Students compiled several recommendations on various program structures implemented in other communities. Among several other recommendations, this included implementing a as pay-as-you-throw program, conducting public outreach, entering shared service agreements, and diverting household hazardous waste.

This project was closely aligned to work completed by students in ASU’s Environmental Resource Management course. Read about that project and how these two projects led to long term results in Apache Junction.

Arizona State University Project Cities Contact

Steven Russell
Program Manager
steven.russell@asu.edu
480-727-2698

Arizona State University Faculty Contact

Malcolm Goggin
Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions
Professor of Practice
Malcolm.Goggin@asu.edu

City of Apache Junction Contact

Larry Kirch
Director
Development Services
City of Apache Junction
lkirch@ajcity.net
480-474-5082

Mike Wever
Director
Public Works
City of Apache Junction
mwever@ajcity.net
(480) 474-8513 

Read the full story of the partnership.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.