The city of Walla Walla’s leaf collection program started Nov. 1 this year, like all years prior, but leaves started falling earlier this year and has slowed the process, staff said.
Workers make two full sweeps of the city to collect leaves, and Jason Mings, supervisor of the Street Division, said usually the second round is the most time-consuming route.
But this year it flipped, he said, and most leaves will be collected in the first round, which is taking a long time.
But the second round will go quickly, he said.
The first sweep around Walla Walla is going slowly this year because 80% of leaves fell during the first round of collection, which normally happens during the second round. The city’s arborist, Kyle Clemens, said leaf drop can be “extremely variable” depending on the species of tree and weather conditions.
The first round of leaf pickup for Thursday and Friday trash collection areas has been completed. Leaf pickup in Monday’s trash collection area will be complete by the end of this week, and Tuesday’s collection will begin later this week, Mings said.
“It is taking longer than in the past 20 years,” the supervisor said.
He said there were a few routine breakdowns of maintenance but nothing unusual.
The city is asking residents to place their leaves in the street along the curb near the gutter without blocking stormwater grates and bike lanes. Vehicles must park at least 10 feet away from piles, according to the city website.
Collectors will not pick up piles containing limbs, brush or other yard waste. Leaves should not be bagged because the bags are not compostable. The leaves will be composted at the Sudbury Road Landfill Compost Facility, according to the city website.
The second round of leaf collection is predicted to begin the week of Dec. 20, after Wednesday’s leaf collection is finished, Mings said.
So far, 550 tons of leaves have been collected. Crews collected 1,938 tons of leaves in 2018, according to Street Division records.
“Be patient; we will get there,” Mings said.
Loose leaf drop-off sites are in the softball parking lot off Ruth Street at the northeast corner of Pioneer Park and in the parking lot off Hillbrooke Drive on the east side of Howard-Tietan Park until Jan. 7. Leaves at drop-off areas should be left unbagged, according to the city’s website.
To learn more about leaf pickup or to sign up for notifications, visit the city website at ubne.ws/wwleafpickup.