The DC Department of Public Works announced today that it will begin collecting leaves Monday, November 5 and will continue collections through January 12, 2013. DPW will be in each neighborhood at least twice for two weeks collecting leaves during the season. To ensure leaves are collected, residents are asked to check the schedule for their neighborhood and get their leaves ready for collection the weekend before each collection cycle. Earlier this month, DPW mailed a collection schedule to residents whose trash and recycling are collected by DPW. That schedule also can be found at www.dpw.dc.gov.
“We will collect leaves from every residential street in the District,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “This is our most labor-intensive operation, involving more than 200 people working six days a week, including Veterans Day (observed Monday, November 12) and Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22).”
He advised residents to rake loose leaves into the treeboxes, not into the street, and DPW crews will vacuum the leaves, which will be composted. “We also will collect bagged leaves left in the treeboxes and they, too, will be composted,” he added. Last year DPW composted almost 6,000 tons of leaves. The free compost is available to residents for pick up between March and October at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station.
“Collecting leaves is a public safety function,” said Mr. Howland. “Wet or dry leaves can cause pedestrians to fall and cars to skid. Leaves can block catch basins, which can lead to flooding. Leaves raked into the street, rather than the treebox, reduce available parking spaces. Starting a car parked over dry leaves can cause them to ignite.”
DPW will collect holiday trees between December 31 and January 12. Residents should remove ornaments before placing the trees where their trash and recycling are collected.
Here are some tips for a smooth-running leaf collection season:
- Look up your street’s collection schedule in the leaf collection brochure or at http://leaf.dcgis.dc.gov/.
- Rake leaves into the treebox the weekend before your street’s collection cycles. If you don’t have a treebox, leaves should be placed adjacent to the curb but NOT in the gutter or the street.
- Please – leaves only! Tree limbs, bricks, dirt, rocks, etc., will damage the equipment and delay collections.
- If you choose to bag your leaves, place the bags in the treebox or next to the trash/recycling container(s).
- Drive slowly around our crews’ work area so no one gets hurt.
Leaf collection season coincides with the beginning of snow season. Mr. Howland said, “I want to remind residents that the leaf collection crews are the backbone of the snow removal program. When snow and/or ice are predicted, we stop collecting leaves to convert our leaf equipment to snow plows. No leaves are collected until after the snow event ends. Sometimes predictions don’t result in snow, but we must have our snow equipment on the street regardless.”