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Fox Chapel halts spring leaf collection

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After a successful pilot last year of letting leaves lie, Fox Chapel's public works department will do that again this spring.

Council agreed last year to discontinue spring leaf collection in hopes of encouraging people to practice “greener” landscaping. The move also was supposed to save thousands of dollars in diesel fuel.

“We had people driving around looking for leaves, and there really weren't that many of them set out,” borough manager Gary Koehler said.

The decision will continue this month, when crews typically would canvass the borough collecting piles from the curb.

Koehler said there were minimal calls or concerns after the program stopped last year.

“More people are blowing the leaves into the woods,” he said. “That's the goal, to have a more sustainable practice.”

Koehler also suggested that residents mulch the leaves for fertilization while mowing the grass.

“They disappear, and it's a much better practice than setting them out for collection,” he said.“We saved a lot of manpower and diesel fuel instead of looking for leaves that aren't out.”

It was on recommendation from the borough's park commission that the pickups halted last year.

That group is reviewing alternatives for the borough's annual fall leaf collection, during which participation is high, but it cost the municipality about $16,000 to fuel the trucks. And, it takes every employee on the public works crew two months to make the rounds, Koehler said.

“If we want to save taxpayer money, more people would be mulching and composting in the fall,” he said.

The borough will provide spring brush collection beginning Monday.

All brush must be placed at the roadside with the cut end toward the street. No tree limbs larger than 5 inches in diameter or 8 feet long will be collected.

Hedges, bushes and shrubs must be securely tied in bundles no wider than 16 inches. Loose hedge clippings, vines and bushes will not be collected.

No leaves, grass clippings or other debris will be collected. The collection is limited to a single pile of brush per property, no wider than 4 feet, higher than 6 feet or longer than 8 feet.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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