Local Government

Loose leaf vacuum collection starts Monday in Cedar Rapids

City employees to alternate weeks based on quadrants

Cedar Rapids city workers trained on the new vacuum leaf collection trucks at Cedar Rapids?Linn County Solid Waste Agency A St. SW Compost Facility on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids city workers trained on the new vacuum leaf collection trucks at Cedar Rapids?Linn County Solid Waste Agency A St. SW Compost Facility on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, in southwest Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The 2016 Cedar Rapids Fall Loose Leaf Collection program begins today with officials planning an every-other-week schedule based on the quadrant in which residents live.

Leaf collection in the northwest quadrant begins today and Tuesday; the northeast quadrant starts Wednesday and Thursday; the southwest quadrant begins Oct. 17-18; and the southeast quadrant Oct. 19-20.

Leaf trucks are to collect in the northwest and northeast areas one week and in the southwest and southeast areas the next week, ensuring residents in each area of the city receive leaf vacuum collection every-other week.

Leaf collection schedules were sent with Cedar Rapids utilities bills and a calendar is also available at CityofCR.com/Leaf to help customers identify when their leaves are to be collected. Customers can also call the Solid Waste & Recycling Division at (319) 286-5897 to determine their collection day.

To ensure residents always know when leaves are to be collected, they are encouraged to sign up for garbage and recycling text or email alerts at CRNewsNow.com.

Leaves throughout the city tend to fall at the same time, creating large volumes of leaves in areas of the city with mature trees, according to city officials. With the bi-weekly schedule, Fridays and Saturdays are to be used as make up days if heavy leaf volumes cannot be collected as scheduled. Crews are to finish collecting leaves in each area before moving onto the next.

The Solid Waste and Recycling Division skipped the first week of leaf collection due to flood clean up and recovery efforts. Weather permitting, the crews plan to collect one additional week in December to allow each quadrant five leaf vacuum collection opportunities.

City officials said the leaf vacuum program helps protect area streams and the Cedar River.

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“By keeping the leaves on the lawn and out of the street, less organic material, which can rob aquatic life of oxygen, is washed into our waterways through the storm sewer system,” reads a news release from the city.

Here are a few basics of preparing your leaves for pickup:

l Rake leaves into long piles on the parking area or grass next to the street. Leaves must be kept out of the street. The vacuum truck will not collect leaves from alleys or if the piles have sticks mixed with the leaves.

l Sandbags in certain neighborhoods may present additional challenges for the start of leaf collection. Please ensure sandbags are not placed in front of leaf piles.

l Collect brush and branches to put in your YARDY cart for collection.

l Keep leaf piles away from obstacles like your collection carts, mailboxes, cars and utility poles.

l During fall loose leaf collection, brown paper lawn and leaf bags are collected every week with the YARDY cart. Your YARDY cart must be used first; then paper lawn and leaf bags can be used for any additional leaves. Filled bags cannot exceed 40 pounds.

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