Leaf collection will look a little different in Winston-Salem this year.

During Winston-Salem’s Public Works Committee meeting on Oct. 10, Sanitation Director Stevie Dulin shared updates about the coming months with councilmembers.

The city’s collection routes are divided into four quadrants. Previously, leaves were collected one quadrant at a time. This year, leaves will be collected in two quadrants at a time this year, beginning in Quadrants 1 and 2 to the east and south.

The reasons behind this strategy stem from the events of last year, when leaf woes plagued the city with a whirlwind of rainy weather, vehicle breakdowns and leaves falling early. Leaves in the street caused traffic problems, Dulin said.

Leaf collection typically starts in November, but city staff have been given approval to start collecting as soon as the leaves fall this year. Operations will run through January, or as long as it takes to make three collections in each quadrant. The city has also increased its stock of equipment and collection crews.

“That’s really how we’re able to do… two quadrants at one time now,” Dulin said.

This year they have 12 automated leaf trucks, 24 pull-behind leaf machines and 24 scow bed trucks.

Last year they had 17 pull-behind machines, ]adding seven to this year’s lineup.

Dulin said that there has not been an increase in automated leaf trucks from last year.

City council approved the purchase of two new automated leaf-loaders in March to replace some of the older trucks. Former Assistant City Manager Johnnie Taylor told TCB in March that the new leaf-loaders would arrive by the start of the collection season.

Dulin said that they will have 12 crews with pull-behind leaf machines in each quadrant, adding that along with those crews the city will have “those 12 automated machines picking up the heavy loads, like the big piles” working alongside the pull-behind machines.

To prevent equipment failure, leaf collection operations will cease on days where it continuously rains. Dulin said. When the internal parts of the leaf vacuum system get wet, this can result

in several days of downtime for repairs.

Dulin said that there were times last year when most of the equipment was down.

“It makes it very hard to pick up leaves when you’ve got 25 percent of your equipment working,” Dulin added.

Leaf collection is not offered to businesses and apartments.

Here are this year’s guidelines from the city:

  • Do not park vehicles on, in front of or near leaves.
  • Rake leaves to the edge of your yard, behind the curb — not in the street.
  • Inclement weather may force the leaf collection schedule to change.
  • No burning leaves inside the city limits.
  • Leaves should not be placed on a tarp.
  • Only leaves should be placed in collection piles. Sticks, rocks, and other debris may damage city equipment.

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