By Dylan Deprey
Wisconsin has been shoveling during Hallowinter and hunkering down during Novembuary, as the cold and snow hit record numbers for this year. Before the blink of an eye, leaf piles were replaced by snow drifts, and sweatshirt weather turned polar.
“This has clearly had ramifications on our city and our city crews,” said Mayor Tom Barrett during a press conference Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.
Due to the drastic conditions, Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) announced they would be extending the leaf collection deadline from Nov. 15 through Sunday, Nov. 24.
“Next weekend is leaf raking weekend in Milwaukee,” Barrett said. “This is your chance to get your leaves into the street for crews to pick up.”
Milwaukee is looking towards temperatures above freezing with some snow over the next week. With the rise in temps, folks can finally rake their lawns before another snow covering.
DPW officials said the additional week was added due to their trucks being converted from street cleaners to plows and then back. They said over the course of the morning and night shifts, over 20 trucks would be out collecting leaves throughout the city.
“Just like we’re doing snow cover, when we’re trying to remove leaves, if one night we can get one side of the street, and the next the other, it causes us to clean that much quicker,” said Alan Kerr, DPW Area Manager for Central and Sanitation Management.
Residents can find out what day to have their leaves in the street online or call 414-286-CITY (2489).
“If you can move your leaves to the side of the street that is not being parked on that night, it’s an immense help for us,” Kerr said.
Ald. Michael Murphy, 10th District, also noted that as leaf piles started to form in the streets again, drivers should obviously not drive through them and to be aware for children possibly playing in them.
“All of us were kids at one time and playing in leaves has always been a lot of fun. It can be very easy for someone to lose a 5, 6 or 7-year-old behind these and walk out into the road way,” Murphy said. “So, I really encourage to be cautious during all their driving but especially during the time period when we’re picking up leaves.
Residents should rake their leaves into the curb lanes for collection to be composted to make a rich soil amendment. Sanitation Services offers these tips for successful leaf collections:
- Do not put leaves in plastic bags – empty them into the curb lane. Leaves are composted but plastic bags do not decompose.
- Do not put brush in the leaf piles. Keep these items separate between the curb and sidewalk. Call 286-CITY or request a brush collection online.
- Keep piles 1′ into the street, away from the curb. This helps ensure the equipment can collect all of the leaves and protects the equipment from being damaged and helps prevent flooding by allowing storm water to move to the storm drains.
- Keep piles away from sewer grates, storm drains, and low hanging trees.
- Include yard debris such as flowers and plants on top of leaf piles.
- Do not include pumpkins, plastic bags, or any other items.