Like many of you, I have begun my annual ritual of raking leaves down to the curb for collection and recycling by the City of Sylvania. As the trees in my yard have matured, the job of leaf raking has become larger and more time consuming.
Leaf collection is a very big job in the City of Sylvania. Our "City of Trees" lives up to its namesake by having tens of thousands of trees throughout the community. Approximately 7,700 street trees are growing in street right-of-ways alone, with many thousands more in parks and on private lands, including the towering oaks and maples native to the area.
Last year, city crews spent 2,016 hours loading and hauling 12,499 cubic yards of leaves to the City composting field on Yankee Road north of town. There the leaves are composted in wind rows and recycled into Sylvan-Gro, a rich compost the city sells by the bushel.
Leaf collection is paid for with general fund dollars. A separate property tax assessment is not collected in Sylvania as it is in some nearby communities. In an effort to reduce man hours and expenses, the leaf collection started a week or two later last year. Nearly the same number of leaves were collected, but with about half the man hours and less fuel.
The annual leaf collection this year will begin the week of Oct. 28, with one or two Streets Division collection crews, as needed, following predetermined routes through the city. The leaf fall will be monitored, and collection will be started earlier if the leaves fall earlier.
As more leaves are raked to the curb, two more crews will be working full time at leaf collection. In an effort to speed up leaf collection, temporary workers are used and overtime is offered to city workers in the Forestry and Utilities divisions when needed.
The city crews load leaves raked to the curb onto city trucks, using diesel powered leaf loader vacuum units. Sticks, grass clippings, flowers, plants, etc. can clog or break the leaf loaders and are not to be part of the leaf collection process. Those items should be set out separately for regular pick-up by the Green Recycling program of the Forestry Division. An unlimited free Green Recycling pick-up is scheduled for the first two weeks of November.
Please do not pile leaves into the street -– keep them on the grassy area next to the curb or pavement edge. Every year, I see leaves piled way beyond the curb, causing some streets to become dangerously narrow, and sometimes forming dams that block storm drainage and cause flooding. The leaves also clog catch basins and storm drains.
City crews will move as quickly as possible to collect all the leaves. The crews will make multiple sweeps through the city, six rounds last year. If we have good weather and it doesn't snow too much, and the leaves fall on schedule, the leaf collection will be completed by Dec. 6 . But the weather and the trees don't always cooperate.
Thanks for your patience. City of Sylvania crews are making their rounds and will be there soon.