Golden touch

A yellow fall leaf hangs on a tree in front of Jackson Elementary School in Janesville on Thursday.

JANESVILLE

All those red and yellow leaves you’ve raked or blown into the street?

Add up every pile in Janesville, and you’d probably tally between 5,000 and 6,500 tons of leaves, parks supervisor Ethan Lee estimated.

That’s plenty of leaves—and a massive undertaking to clean them all up.

City workers will begin collecting piles of loose leaves Monday, Nov. 5, and continue through Nov. 15. If crews get behind, they’ll use Friday, Nov. 16, to finish up work, Lee said. Last year, the city added a leaf vacuum truck to its arsenal, a major advancement in the leaf cleanup industry.

The vacuum truck will return this fall to siphon the streets.

“It’s a nice piece of equipment to have, and one person can operate it,” Lee said. “People are contained within a cab, so they’re a little less exposed to the elements. It seems to be pretty efficient.”

Crews will deploy this technological marvel in particularly leafy areas a couple of days before those neighborhoods are scheduled for pickup. Then on the scheduled day, a two-vehicle crew will work together to clean up what’s left behind, Lee said.

The vacuum is designed for leaves only. Twigs, branches and other yard debris can jam the machine.

If people want to dispose of those items, they should save them for the bagged collection running Nov. 26-30 or take them to the city landfill for composting, Lee said.

For the bagged collection, the city advises residents to use paper bags because they’re more environmentally friendly.

Residents should keep their vehicles off the street during their scheduled loose-leaf pickup day.

The city also recommends people not park over dry leaves because the heat can cause leaves to start on fire.

Over the two-week collection period, the thousands of tons of leaves collected by the city eventually will be converted into compost, Lee said.

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