About 3,500 Delaware residences now are receiving weekly visits from an automated refuse-collection truck.

The truck uses a mechanical arm to pick up trash carts left along curbs.

In a video posted on the city government's Facebook page Sept. 30 -- the same day the new truck went into service -- city refuse and recycling technician Kevin Wynn said residents are asked to continue leaving carts along the curb by 7 a.m. on their collection days.

One new detail is the containers must be at least 4 feet away from any obstruction, such as a mailbox or another cart. That's to give the mechanical arm enough room to maneuver.

About 3,500 of the city's current 12,000 residential refuse customers are being serviced by the automated collection, said Lee Yoakum, city communications manager. They were notified in advance of the pending change, he said.

The automated truck is designed to increase efficiency and reduce possible injuries to operators, he said.

Manufactured by Lodal Inc., the truck cost $245,000 and was funded with rates paid by city refuse customers, Yoakum said.

"The solid-waste division has several older trucks waiting to be replaced, so if this test proves to be a success, the division likely will purchase one or two more of these over the next several years," he said.

Refuse trucks usually last about 10 years, he said.

Residents with questions about the trucks or any other refuse matter may call the solid waste division at 740-203-1810 or email pwcs@delawareohio.net.