It's time to start raking your leaves

Matthew Lane • Oct 12, 2018 at 6:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The weather hasn’t cooperated much this year, with warm temperatures extending well into October. As a result, most of the leaves can still be found on the trees.

But once those leaves do fall, Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation Division will be ready to pick them up.

On Monday – Oct. 15 – Kingsport will begin its leaf collection service, running through the week of Jan. 15. The annual service has crews picking up leaves raked to the curb and working six routes throughout the city.

Ronnie Hammonds, Streets and Sanitation manager, said collection will begin on the western side of town and move east as the days and weeks go on.

“We have set routes we use and we work our way through each route as we go,” Hammonds said. “The first of the year usually takes six or seven workdays to make a complete route as the leaves start falling. That time increases, of course, to two to three weeks before we make a complete cycle through.”

Since most of the leaves are still on the trees, Hammonds said he thinks crews will get through the routes a little more quickly this year. By the first of November, work will start to pick up, and the routes will be running much like normal.

Each year, the city aims to go through each neighborhood about 10 times, collecting around 1,900 tons of leaves.

Hammonds asks that you do the following.

• Place leaves at the edge of your yard and not in the street. Raking leaves into the roadway is a violation of city ordinance, and you could incur liability by blocking the traffic lane.

• Do not cover any catch basins, drainage tiles or rake the leaves in the storm sewer.

• Keep all leaf piles clean and free of trash, limbs or other yard debris. This will help speed collection times.

• Bagged leaves are acceptable as well and should be placed at curbside on your regularly scheduled trash collection day, every other week.

• And be sure not to use leaves as cover for extension cords and yard decorations.

Kingsport uses three automated vacuum trucks, one non-automated vacuum truck and two tag-along leaf collection trucks. City crews can collect anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 tons of leaves each season, depending on how much rain falls. Wet leaves simply weigh more.

Crews take the leaves to the city’s demolition landfill, where they are mulched and used in landscaping projects across the city or sold to the public.

For more information about where trucks are working each day, call the Leaf Line at 224-2429 or go to www.kingsporttn.gov.

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