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Raking in the leaves

Leaf pick-up program keeps Turlock clean, ready for storm water

Raking in the leaves


POSTED November 23, 2010 8:49 p.m.

It’s called fall for a million simple reasons: all those darned leaves that yellow, wither, and plummet from branches to ground.

Sure, they’re beautiful when they’re 10 feet in the air, but once they hit the ground it’s a day’s work of raking to turn a lawn back to normal. Fortunately for Turlockers, the City of Turlock takes care of the hard work from there.

“Over the course of the last three years we’ve averaged over a thousand tons of clean leaves removed off the city streets, and that’s every street in Turlock,” said city maintenance worker Wayne Rogers.

The process is surprisingly simple, but “a lot goes into it,” according to Rogers.

Turlockers sweep their clean leaves into the street on designated leaf pickup days. Then five city workers and four pieces of heavy machinery sweep in to lift piles of leaves into trucks and vacuum up smaller mounds with massive truck-mounted suction.

Afterward, partners Turlock Scavenger move in with a sweeper truck to pick up the stray fragments of leaves too small for the other equipment.

“They’re the ones that make it all look clean after we’re done making a mess,” Rogers said.

The annual leaf pickup program will run from through Feb. 5, 2011 this season, not only as an aide to local residents, but also to prevent flooding. The massive amount of leaves generated by Turlock trees can clog the city’s sewer system, impairing the city’s ability to deal with storm water.

Turlockers participating in the program are asked to first fill their green waste bin, and then to place any remaining leaves 18 inches from the curb so as not to block that storm runoff. Branches, trash, and Christmas trees should not be mixed in with clean leaves, as Scavenger composts all leaves picked up through the program.

Turlock is divided into nine zones for leaf pickup, with each zone seeing four pickup days a year. The city crews work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on those pickup days, regardless of inclement weather.

“Make sure you get your leaves out on the proper day,” said city maintenance worker Ray Garcia.

But for those who don’t make their scheduled pickup, eight makeup days are available.

For leaf pickup, or for more information, call Municipal Services at 668-5590.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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