Latrobe revamps fall leaf collection with vacuum |
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Jeff Himler

Latrobe residents will have new procedures to follow this autumn for removing fallen leaves from their yards.

In past seasons, residents bagged leaves for collection by the city’s contracted waste hauler.

This year, city crews will collect the leaves, using Latrobe’s new vacuum equipment, and residents will have options for preparing the leaves for pick-up.

The leaves will be taken to the city transfer station, where they will be turned into compost available for city residents to collect next spring, at no cost, to apply to their gardens.

“We’re recycling the leaves and turning them into a useful item,” city Manager Michael Gray said.

Depending on favorable weather conditions, crews will begin collecting leaves left at the curb or edge of the road in mid or late October and will continue through Thanksgiving or December. Leaves won’t be collected in heavy rain or snow or if they are placed along an alley.

According to Gray, the collection will proceed systematically through the city’s wards — moving from street to street in each ward before advancing to the next.

Gray said leaves should be placed in a wind row up to 2 feet wide along the edge of the road so crews have clear access to them and they aren’t obstructed by parked vehicles.

Residents still have the option of bagging leaves for collection, but only biodegradable bags may be used. Use of plastic bags is prohibited.

Because of changeable weather and the difficulty of predicting how long crews will need to vacuum leaves on any given street, the city won’t be able to provide a specific schedule for the collection in advance, Gray said. “They might only get two streets done in a day,” he noted.

The city will post updates on its website and Facebook page to let residents know where the crew is working and where it plans to collect leaves next.

Latrobe purchased the leaf vacuum, which will be towed by a dump truck, and a skid loader with the help of a $95,843 recycling grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Questions about the leaf collection can be directed to the public works department at 724-537-8974.

Radio tower to be removed

At its meeting this week, Latrobe council awarded a contract to sole bidder National Metals Segregation to remove an outmoded radio tower that stands in a city right-of-way at the edge of St. Mary’s Cemetery on St. Mary’s Hill.

Gray said the tower was erected to assist with city police communications but is no longer of any use, since radio frequencies have changed. The Derry Township company, which deals in scrap metal, will bring in a crane to remove the tower at a cost of $5,860, Gray said.

An additional contractor will be needed to remove the tower’s concrete base. Gray said officials have to determine how deep the base rests in the ground.

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