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Elk Grove Citizen

Big Truck Day Bigger Than Ever

May 29, 2024 05:06PM ● By Matthew Malone

Children explore a Republic Services garbage truck during Big Truck Day on May 12. The annual event brought the Elk Grove area’s working trucks to the District56 parking lot. Photo by Matthew Malone

Big Truck Day 2024 [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - Big Truck Day rolled into Elk Grove once again on May 12, delighting children and families, and this time with even more trucks.
“We’re bigger than we’ve ever been before,” said organizer Sean Gallagher, Elk Grove’s deputy public works director. 
Besides longtime attendees such as trash collector Republic Services and Sacramento Area Sewer District, the annual showcase of the Elk Grove area’s working trucks included several newcomers: Sacramento County Water Agency, Elk Grove Water District, Odyssey Landscaping and Applied Landscaping Materials
Children visiting Big Truck Day, which was held in the District56 parking lot, clambered into the driver’s seats of monstrous vehicles, including a new garbage truck from Republic and a bright-yellow backhoe.
Lines formed outside of the most popular vehicles, and children honked the horns of the trucks while parents took pictures of their kids at the steering wheels. Some vehicles, like an Elk Grove Transit Services bus, offered tours, and others had activities for kids to try and souvenirs to take home. A bucket truck and a crane truck towered over the scene.
The crane truck belonged to West Coast Arborists, which uses the vehicle to remove trees in places where felling them would be unsafe. 
The crane can lift up to 28 tons, allowing the company to recover large pieces of timber for its Street Tree Revival program.
“We take our wood and repurpose it,” said Sacramento Valley Area Manager James Speck, pointing to Taylor Guitars. “Their No. 1 selling guitar is from our ash that we cut down in the urban forest, so we try to reuse everything we can, and the key is taking the logs out whole and keeping them big and usable.”
Cody Smart of Applied Landscaping Materials showed the truck that hauls and dispenses the company’s main product, bark chips for landscaping. Smart said the truck has a mechanism that pushes the bark toward a hose, allowing it to be distributed, and the truck can cover a bit more than half a football field in an hour.
Applied Landscaping maintains amenities such as cityscapes and school playgrounds. Smart highlighted the truck’s playground work for passing children.
“All those kids play in the playground, so it’s something easy they can relate to,” Smart said. “So we’re just trying to keep them safe and have fun because … some of the kids will take the bark home with them, whether it’s in their shoes or with them, so we have to fill it (the playground) up to make sure it’s compliant.”
Sacramento Area Sewer District brought in a large vehicle that was designed to support a much smaller one. Sized to fit inside a pipe, the sewer district’s inspection robot is equipped with lights and a camera to show an operator the state of a pipeline. The big truck holds the robot’s equipment and a display of the camera feed.
For Big Truck Day, children could drive the robot through a section of pipe, finding stickers hidden inside and a wayward rubber duck.
“They’re learning that it takes special types of tools to help us get our job done, and these robotic cameras are definitely one of those tools that help prevent a lot of bad things from happening in the sewer pipes,” sewer district spokesperson LeeAnn Salerno said. 
Gallagher, the city’s deputy public works director, was partial to the city’s vacuum truck, which helps prevent rainy weather from causing floods.
“We use it for storm drain cleaning, which is really important during our winter season, to make sure our system’s working to perfection if we can make it that way,” Gallagher said, “but it helps clean the pipes and keep the roads clear of water.”
Gallagher said the event helps guests understand the work of the people who keep Elk Grove running.
“A lot of these vendors and agencies work 24/7 to service the people of Elk Grove, so we just want to showcase what they do and the equipment, and really help people learn about what public works is,” Gallagher said.