Menomonee Falls — Menomonee Falls residents will see a change in the way their leaves are picked up this fall as the Public Works Department is piloting a new collection program.
Leaf collection will start in late October and run until late November, or until the first snowfall of the season, Department of Public Works Director Arlyn Johnson said during a presentation to the Village Board on Monday. The leaves are collected on streets with concrete curb and gutter and storm sewer systems. The program is specifically for leaves and does not include brush, yard waste and other debris.
The Public Works Department plans to let enough leaves accumulate on the streets before they deploy workers to collect them. In years past, the village was able to collect smaller piles of leaves more frequently, but with changes in procedure that may not be possible this year.
The two vehicles used in the village, which vacuumed leaves off the streets, have been banned from use by the Wisconsin State Patrol after two accidents in the last two years in Sheboygan and Neenah left one dead and one critically injured. It was determined that the machinery attached to the front of the trucks obstructs visibility, which was a critical factor in the accidents. Though Menomonee Falls has used vacuum equipment for 11 years without incident, the units are being sidelined, Johnson said.
"Neither one of (the trucks) will be used due to the serious accidents that have occurred in other communities," Johnson said.
Village crews will collect leaves utilizing leaf pushers and specially modified garbage trucks. The leaves will be pushed up a ramp and into the back of the truck.
"You can get a lot more leaves compacted in the garbage truck than you can in the back of a dump truck going down the road," Johnson said."This will be a much more effiencient process."
The village does not own garbage trucks. The DPW is renting two trucks from a Florida company for $4,000 a week until collection time is over. When asked about the potential for savings by Trustee Bonnie Lemmer, Johnson said there should be a significant savings using the garbage trucks and pushers though an exact amount is not yet known. Fewer machines and fewer crew members are needed to collect leaves through the pilot program, which has the potential to create savings.
Leaves should not be placed in bags or containers, but piled in the parking lane next to the curb and gutter.
Once collected, the village disposes of leaves through a composting process that breaks them down and decomposes them into a black material that is mixed with topsoil. The topsoil is used in village lawn restoration work, according to village documents.
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