DPW: Vacuuming Leaves More Expensive, Less Effective

dpw_headquarters_tlsIn response to readers’ concerns regarding the leaf cleanup process, TLS contacted the Department of Public works for an explanation into the usage of the trucks over vacuum machines. “First of all, we’ve had them and the vacuums don’t work for brush and branches”, DPW Superintendent Tony Arrechi tells TLS.

Secondly, says Arrechi, most towns are actually moving away from these machines because of the dust, noise issues, and hearing issues for the drivers of the vacuums.

“Besides”, says Arrechi, “the trucks are 100% faster”, explaining that the vacuums would require drivers to keep dumping the contents, where is the truck on the other hand can be used for longer periods of time.

Regarding bagging leaves, Arrechi says, no place would accept the bags – even bio-degradable bags – and they would have to be emptied.

Also, he says, the cost for bags would ultimately be the taxpayers.

“If anyone has questions or concerns, they are¬†welcome to come down to speak with us”, Arrechi says.

The township collects over 300 tons of leaves a year in Lakewood.

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  1. They land fills do collect bio degradable bags.Its a way for the dpw to jtify hy they employ o many worker.
    Secondly, he did not address the saftey issue to drivers as leaves spill into the roadway sitting there for weeks at a time.They don’t give a specific pick up date resulting in leaves sitting around creating saftey hazards.
    Third what is the budget for leaf pick up with all those crews.

  2. I think everyone should look into buying a leaf vaccum/mulcher. It sucks up the leaves and then grinds it. My huge pile of leaves which took up two car lengths was reduced to mulch that fit two large bags, which I then placed in the corner of back yard to decompose.

  3. I had half my leaves left behind – because on the day they picked up there was a car parked in front of the pile by at least 2 feet clearance. can you perhaps have the raker ring the bell to move the car or come again the next day or week. certain houses get preference their leaves are cleaned more often than others on same street. do they pay more taxes or do they bribe?

  4. To #4 – call us (905-3405)at the DPW when this occurs and we can make sure the leaves are removed. If you can give us the details we can follow up w/ the crew to see what happened.

  5. isnt it cheaper(less man power, gas, truck maintanence, having to unclog the drains from the leaves. less traffic back up from the trucks clogging the street/highways ) to distribute garbage bags. if im correct thats how they do it in brooklyn. i dont think it equalls out, the collection to the recycling of the leaves.

  6. to 7 – the recyling center does not accept bagged leaves,we don’t have the option if we bag then we handle the bags twice, picking them up and then emptying. To further respond to # 1, the solid waste landfill accepts bagged items, however bagged organic material is not accepted even if the bags are the bio type.

  7. Mr. Arecchi you didint answer all the points, the clogged drains/streets which must be cleaned after the leave season. the extra traffic caused by the trucks (sometimes even blocking the streets to pick up the leaves), cost of maintaining the the vehicles, the cost of gas. this is the way it was done till now is not an answer. have the residents use a garbage can, which will be picked up by the garbage trucks. probably stiil a more cost efficent way.

  8. To 11 – First, we are required by law to maintain stormwater drains, which are regularly inspected and serviced. We have many “sump” style storm drains that fill w/ water and slowly discharge back into the ground, they are not tied into a storm water pipe system. So with heavy rains, the overflow gives the appearance they are clogged. Unfortunately, this goes back to when Lakewood was a smaller town and water runoff wasn’t an issue. As far as extra traffic and fuel you would still have these issues no matter what system you use. We pick up over 4000 tons of leaves each season, using trash cans would be unpractical. At no time did I say “this is the way it has always been done” We have tried vacuum trucks, bagging, raking and tink trucks. All and all, we have found the current method to be the most economical, reliable and fastest. Again if anyone has further questions , please contact me at 732.905.3405.

  9. It would be more economical to have ONE truck picking up garbage cans and dumping the leaves in there is no reason to have 3 crews out with sweepers tractors dump trucks rakers etc. looks like the dpw is creating jobs for its personell while taxpayers are suffering and being laid off..
    it is not even the fastest method since leaves can sit out for weeks without getting picked up.

  10. To 13 – you cannot mix leaves with regular trash. No jobs are being created just for leaf pick up. Personnel are pulled from other seasonal positions to man the crews. The town has 240 miles of roadway, it would take several months to pick up leaves using only one truck. Based on the volumn of material, there is no faster way at this time, with having to balance personnel, equipment, and weather. Unfortunately, it is not an exact science and we are constantly looking into better ways of doing the process.

  11. Actually I saw 2 trucks and a tractor yesterday. And you know what, watching them it made sense – People are supposed to put only their leaves at the curb. However some folk think that includes branches, small stumps. On top of that their is regular garbage that gets mingled in. DPW put only leaves in one truck and branches/logs/stumps in the other. There was a fellow checking the pile of leaves for garbage that may have gotten mingled in. All said it made sense, although it didn’t seem economical to have 4 people doing this, they did move pretty fast. They even had a sweeper to make the front of my house clean and beautiful.
    The fellow I spoke to yesterday was very polite and friendly. He even helped drag a bunch of branches from the side of my house to the truck.
    So rabosai, we can moan all day about spending and waste, but look at the positive side, at least the streets are clean and we’re ready for a snow storm.

    Why always be a negative kvetch, when you can try look for the good. At least try.

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