Snow 'has slowed efforts down' to collect leaves

Cary Ashby • Nov 30, 2018 at 4:00 AM

It’s that awkward time of year when Norwalk general services department employees are about to collect leaves — and it snows.

After all, the city uses the same five two-ton trucks for leaf collection as it does plowing snow or salting the roads.

“It’s not like you push a button and this thing transforms. It would be great if it did,” Norwalk Public Works Director Josh Snyder said. “It slows the leaf pick-up process to address snow.

“The conversion takes time away from (doing) either of them and both of them,” he added.

The general services section of the city website even cautions residents that weather may influence the leaf pick-up schedule.

“As with any outdoor process, weather is a factor. Inclement weather may delay pickup. Please be patient and have your leaves raked to the curb on your scheduled day. The trucks will be by. Please check the front page of this website or the Norwalk Reflector for changes to the week of collection,” it says.

The first scheduled day of leaf collection in the city was Monday.

“Unofficially, we were out last week, picking up large piles of leaves, mostly on the south side of town,” Snyder said.

Leaf collection originally was scheduled to last five days.

No matter when the city decides to collect leaves, there are always complaints about the timing. For the last three to four years, residents have said “we’re doing the leaves too early,” Snyder said, and also complained that there are plenty left on the trees.

With snow on the ground, Snyder said it obviously “has slowed the efforts down” to collect leaves and “it’s not something you plan.”

Leaves covered in the white stuff offer their own set of challenges. First, Snyder said leaf piles, especially the smaller ones, aren’t as obvious when they are “dusted white.”

“The vacuum hoses can be frozen or plugged up with leaves frozen with snow,” the engineer added.

Chunks of snow or ice can damage the impeller, the mechanism that creates the sucking action.

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