- Ada County, ID officials have submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to use a drone at the region's landfill in order to collect geographical data.
- Currently, the county flies manned aircrafts to collect the data and take aerial photos of the 2,700-acre landfill, which costs the county $700 an hour. The use of a drone would save taxpayers a significant amount of money.
- Larry Maneely, the county's chief of staff, ensured that each drone flight will need to be pre-approved, and the drones will need to fly below 400 feet to stay in eyesight.
As quantities of solid waste grow throughout the industry, technology has been an enormously beneficial factor to ensure accuracy in many operations. In 2014, the regional landfill in Ada County collected 440,000 tons of waste from four cities and four separate local government agencies. By finding an efficient, technologically-advanced solution to collect data — such as using a drone — the county will be better equipped to handle such a large amount of waste.
Overall, drones are becoming a popular tool for municipalities to better understand and evaluate their regions. The Associated Press reported that Canyon County — which neighbors Ada County — spent a $34,000 grant from U.S. Homeland Security to buy a 2-pound drone for surveillance and safety efforts. Ada County's use of a drone to collect landfill data may be a first-step for other municipalities to evaluate their landfills in the same manner.
It will take 60 to 90 days to process the county's application for a drone, according to the FAA.