Wilson crews collecting leaves through Jan. 31

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A wet fall and early winter hasn’t had a significant effect on the collection of leaves, with crews using a mobile vacuum to sweep up piles through month’s end.

Work began on Nov. 1 and Environmental Services Manager Scott Hedgepeth said crews are projected to collect about 1,100 tons of leaves by the end of January despite the occasional missed route due to heavy rain.

“From the residents’ standpoint, it is certainly more visually appealing to have a clean yard and a clean city as well,” Hedgepeth said. “From the city’s standpoint, we would like to protect our stormwater system, lessen any negative environmental impact and maintain a beautiful and visually appealing city for us all.”

The work of clearing leaves and yard debris is balanced between three city departments with environmental services doing the collection, streets crews using a street sweeper to keep the gutters clear and stormwater staff handling issues when leaves and yard debris clog drains.

“It is important to remember that blowing leaves and yard debris out into the street is a violation of the city’s ordinance,” Hedgepeth said. “The city has street sweeper routes to keep streets clean, but it cannot pick up leaves in the gutter. When the storm drains are clogged, the chance of street-level flooding from a moderate rainfall increases.”

The weather has reportedly not caused delays in leaf collection and the stormwater staff has not reported any abnormal issues during leaf collection season.

“Any times leaves clump together and begin to accumulate, then it poses a potential issue of clogging the stormwater pipes and also forming a mat over the catch basin grates in the curb, causing water to pool in the street instead of draining away,” said stormwater compliance specialist Noah Parsons.

Residents are urged to pile leaves several feet behind the curb or lay a tarp over piles to prevent leaves from blowing into the street.

Pickup of loose leaves coincides with regular garbage collection schedules, but service requests also can be made by calling 252-399-2424 or using the Fix-It Wilson app, which can be downloaded free on mobile devices and used to report a variety of issues.