Western Pennsylvania leaf collection requires residents' help
Western Pennsylvania, known for its deciduous trees, is becoming ablaze in color.
Soon it will be knee-deep in leaves.
Suburban residents already are hearing the familiar rumbling engines of the powerful vacuums used by public works crews to gather autumn leaves from streets.
Making sure that the pickup runs smoothly requires public cooperation, public works officials say.
Industrial vacuums are strong enough to suck up most anything nearby, said Fox Chapel's public works director Dempsey Bruce.
Bruce said the machines are so strong, they have been known to accidentally “suck the bushes right out of the ground.”
He suggested that homeowners pile leaves away from bushes that are close to the curb.
A chipper used to cut up branches also has demonstrated its strength.
“A branch going into the chipper (once) hooked (a worker's) keys and pulled them right out of his pocket and put them through the chipper,” Bruce said.
The keys, found using a metal detector, were mostly intact but some had been “chopped up,” he said.
Fox Chapel, a town of about 5,400 people with a home ownership rate of 94.2 percent, according to the most recent census figures, gathered 458 truckloads of leaves last year.
Public works officials encourage homeowners to handle leaves according to municipal ordinances.
The rules can vary not only from town to town, but street to street within a municipality, depending on whether a homeowner lives in a busy road or a cul de sac, for example. The frequency of pickups can differ vastly as well.
Bethel Park, with about 32,400 people and an 80 percent homeownership rate, has eight pickups during the year:
The much-smaller Findlay, which has about 5,100 residents and a 78.7 percent owner-occupied housing rate, is more rural and has two pickups.
That meets regulations set by the Department of Environmental Protection to separate recyclable items from refuse, officials said. This year pickups will be on Nov. 3 and 17.
Many municipalities have specific dates for pickup. Residents are notified about the pickups through newsletters and e-mail.
Other municipalities run their trucks on a call-by-call basis. Butler officials said they do it that way to fit the cycle of trees: Some will shed sooner than others so a schedule would not be beneficial.
“Mother Nature is the problem; she won't drop all the leaves at the same time,” said Ralph Graham, Butler's Street Department director.
When Butler receives enough phone calls from a particular street, a truck will be sent to pick up the leaves. Residents are appreciative, Graham said.
“Very seldom we get thanks but with the way things are running now for this particular program,we will get calls to the office thanking us for picking up the leaves,” said Graham.
“People love the program,” said Public Works Director Tom Kelley of Mt. Lebanon, which last year picked up 1,300 truckloads of leaves, or 17,000 cubic yards.
“If anything, the questions are ‘Can you come more frequently?'”
Matt DeFusco is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-849-1482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Arrests follow South Side fracas
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Braves 2
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Oakmont club brings gardening inside at senior facility
- Flash!: ‘Bowling with the Bus’; Dreams of Hope fundraiser
- Income tax’s origin provides spark for Berry’s new thriller
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- Michigan State tops Louisville in OT to reach Final Four
- Neutral decor doesn’t have to be noncommittal