BETHLEHEM — The Town of Bethlehem announced it will start vacuuming loose leaves collected by residents on the sides of area roads, and it passed along advice on how best to help them.
Annually, the Town of Bethlehem collects about 20,000 cubic yards of just loose leaves — not counting other yard debris. This is the equivalent of nearly 200,000 lawn bags and requires a major effort each fall.
The loose leaf pickup schedule is below and updated regularly beginning in mid-October. Town said it strives to stay on schedule but seasonal rain storms can hamper the cause. Oddly enough, a warm, sunny weekend can have the same effect, causing sudden increases in volume after everyone goes outside to rake.
Regular weekly pick up of yard waste will continue while loose leaves are being collected and is a much quicker process. Leaves and grass clippings placed in reusable containers or yard waste bags, along with tree branches — under 4 feet long — piled neatly at the curbside will continue to be picked up on your regularly scheduled yard waste collection day. Consider this alternative for faster leaf pickup.
To help town crews pick up your leaves as quickly as possible, the Town suggests placing loose leaves on the lawn at the edge of the roadway, and to keep stormwater inlet grates clear to ensure proper drainage. Keep leaf piles long and narrow on the edge of the lawn as opposed to short and deep.
The Town strongly discourages residents from depositing their leaf piles on roadways. In the past, they have attributed this behavior to causing hazardous conditions for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Yard waste and branches should be separated from leaf piles. The Town said branches and ornamental grasses will clog the leaf vacuum slowing down pickup. If these items are mixed together, the Town of Bethlehem cannot collect them with vacuum equipment, and they will have to be rejected.
— Michael Hallisey