Elouise Porter rakes leaves into a pile in front of her Carolina Street home Wednesday in Kingsport. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation Department began its annual leaf collection service for city residents earlier this month and will continue with the service until the middle of January.
Ronnie Hammonds, manager of the department, said residents should rake their leaves to the curb (or put them in bags) in order to be collected, but not put the leaves in the roadway. The leaves should be free of sticks, rocks or debris, as the material would damage the large vacuums used on the trucks to collect the leaves.
Leaf collection runs from Oct. 15 through Jan. 15 with crews working five days a week, going roughly west to east across town through six collection zones. The zones take about a day and a half to clear, and crews initially are on a nine-day rotation cycle for collecting.
As more leaves fall, additional trucks will be put into service, and the turnaround will lengthen to about 14 days before the truck makes its way back to your house. Hammonds said bagged leaves will be picked up on residents’ regularly scheduled trash day.
Hammonds said the goal is for crews to make 10 trips through the city before the end of the service. The peak time for leaves this year is roughly from the middle of November to the middle of December.
To find out where the leaf collection trucks will be on any given day, contact the department’s Leaf Hotline at 224-2429.
Last year, crews collected 1,740 tons of leaves, which Hammonds said is on par with the seven-year average of 1,734 tons of leaves collected. Crews take the leaves to the demolition landfill, where they are composted, turned into topsoil and used on various landscaping projects throughout town.
For the past four years, Sullivan County has also collected leaves and brush for its residents, though people had to call in and schedule a date and time for collection. However, earlier this year the Sullivan County Commission approved a resolution ending the $200,000-a-year service due to issues of legality and cost.
Commissioner Moe Brotherton, of Colonial Heights, has attempted to revisit the issue twice this year but both times pulled the item from the commission’s agenda. The issue is expected to come before the commission next month.
County residents can still burn their leaves but should contact their respective volunteer fire department about first obtaining a burn permit.