Last day for leaf pickup approaching

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 23, 2015

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — For residents that have been putting off raking leaves, the deadline is fast approaching to get them picked up at the curb.

Eastpointe Department of Public Works Director Mary Van Haaren said the city’s last pickup dates for leaves at curbside is going to be the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 4, while Roseville Department of Public Services Director Tom Aiuto said Roseville’s last pickup will be the week of Dec. 7-11.

Van Haaren said the leaves need to be in garbage cans marked with a yard-waste sticker or in recyclable yard-waste bags typically made of paper. City ordinances prevent residents from simply sweeping the leaves into the street.

“It causes a big problem for storm sewers,” Van Haaren said. “(The leaves) don’t deteriorate quickly, and now you don’t have room for stormwater to be flushed through the system.”

That causes the water to back up and flood the streets, Aiuto said. Roseville has its own ordinance against sweeping leaves into the street. Roseville, like Eastpointe, requires people to throw out their leaves in a garbage can marked for yard waste or in yard-waste bags.

The city will use a vacuum to pick up as many leaves as possible from the roads, Aiuto said, but that cannot accommodate the amount of leaves that would be in the street if residents swept them there.

Aiuto said parks staff will clean up and compost the fallen leaves in the city parks in the late fall, as part of the department’s winter preparations.

“When we clean the parks, they’re composted the same way — they’re shredded and put into bags, and we dispose of it the same way,” Aiuto said. “Some of it gets shredded with the mowers, some of it stays, but what we can, we get.”

Van Haaren said that rather than removing leaves in Eastpointe parks, city workers instead will go out to cut up and mulch the leaves. The biggest problem of leaving whole leaves on the grass is that they can end up killing the grass before the leaves decompose entirely; by cutting them up, that no longer is a problem.

“If you’ve got too many leaves accumulated, the area beneath just sort of rots, or the grass dies off,” she said. “By mulching, it encourages the grass to survive.”

According to the National Wildlife Federation, fallen leaves can provide a habitat for small wildlife; fallen leaves also help get more nutrients into the ground as the leaves decompose.

Van Haaren said that if residents miss the deadline to dispose of their leaves, the leaves will either need to remain where they are for the winter or residents will have to take them somewhere for disposal.

For information on potential disposal sites, she said there is a list on www.cityofeastpointe.net under “DPW” in the departments tab.

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