Leaf collection begins Dec. 3; policy adjusted

Hurricane Sandy and this month’s nor’easter have left a lot of leaves and branches still on the ground in Greenwich, and because of that the town has adjusted its leaf collection policy.

According to First Selectman Peter Tesei, the town’s leaf collection program will not begin this year until Monday, Dec. 3, and there will be a more limited collection. This year, town leaf collection crews will do only one collection per town collection section during the program. To make sure this happens as smoothly as possible, residents are being asked to leave all collected leaves at the roadside for pickup by Dec. 3. The collection will be for leaves only, with sticks, branches or other forms of storm debris not included.

“Presently you will see a lot of orange trucks meandering through the town, and they are here to pick up that heavier debris and get it out of the way so when the leaf crews come through they can facilitate easy pickup with the machinery they have,” Mr. Tesei explained at last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

Residents may also still take storm debris to the town’s Holly Hill Resource Recovery Facility.

Mr. Tesei said he has received a suggestion from a town resident about equipment that essentially takes the debris and chops it up for easier transport. Such equipment is used in neighboring communities like Port Chester, N.Y. This would result in less manpower being needed for the collection, and Mr. Tesei said he’d asked Commissioner of Public Works Amy Siebert to consider that for the future. Most town equipment is used for multiple purposes — for example, the leaf collection trucks are also used for salting icy roads and moving fill. Mr. Tesei said Ms. Siebert told him the suggested equipment would be more of a specialized piece of equipment and because of the town’s limited capital budget, it might not be something that can be purchased now.

“We do hear what people are saying, and we want them to know that we do try and be responsive,” Mr. Tesei said.

To insure proper collection, residents are being instructed to rake leaves into piles at the shoulder of the road and avoid raking leaves onto the pavement, sidewalks, catch basin grates, and open channels, because doing that can cause drainage and flooding problems during periods of rain. If residents need to, they may place their leaves in biodegradable paper bags and leave them at the curb for collection, but collection crews will not take plastic bags of leaves.

“We hope in the future that people will bag the leaves and put them in the biodegradable bags because that makes it much easier for people to come along, pick them up, pop them in the truck, and leave less mess and residue on the roadway,” Mr. Tesei said. “That creates a safer travel environment and frankly doesn’t clog up the storm drains.”

Because there will be a lot of leaf piles in the shoulder of the road in anticipation of the Dec. 3 program commencement, Mr. Tesei said, people should be very careful driving. He noted that his street sometimes feels like it’s one-lane because of all the leaves waiting to be picked up, so he knows the potential hazards.

Residents may find more information about the program by calling 203-618-7698. Information about which section a certain street in town is in may be found at the town’s website, greenwichct.org.


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