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City urges citizens to keep debris out of leaf piles

Autumn officially arrived almost two months ago, but it’s taken some time to for the weather to oblige in Franklin County. The season evokes different memories and comes with different connotations for everyone – whether that’s football Saturdays on the couch with mounds of tailgate food; crisp sunny afternoons in pumpkin patches and starry evenings on hayrides; or the flurry and scurry of celebrating and observing favorite holidays like Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. But nearly everyone will agree on one particular nuisance that comes to mind: fallen leaves.

In Russellville, leaf collection is one service undertaken by the city street department, and the department is counting on residents to make this collection as easy as possible.

One thing that hampers the process is when street department employees have to deal with objects other than leaves in residents’ piles. Rocks and sticks will damage the truck, and street department supervisor Roy Price urged citizens to assist the department by ensuring leaf piles contain leaves – and nothing but leaves.

“The plastic hose they use to pick the leaves up – sticks punch holes in it, and it has to be replaced,” Price said. “It happens quite a bit. Our guys try to pull sticks out, if they see them, but you can’t always see them.” The truck, if damaged, is costly and time-consuming to repair. Operator Nate Herring said in addition to sticks, people often clutter their leaf piles with construction debris, like bits of sheetrock or cinderblock fragments or broken shingles, which also can damage the truck.

Leaves should be piled as close to the street as possible, no farther than 6-8 feet away, but not in the street. Price said people need to be careful to keep leaves out of the street gutters to avoid drainage issues, and piles also need to be clear of any obstacles, like mailboxes or vehicle, so there is room for the collection truck to pull up to the curb. Additionally, people who bag their leaves will find that their leaves are collected sooner, since any street department vehicle can pick up bagged leaves.

The city has one leaf truck that services the entire city.

Leaf collection started in mid-October and will continue through February or March – “whenever people quit putting them out,” Herring said.