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Great Falls is using giant vacuums to collect leaves

Great Falls is using giant vacuums to collect leaves
Posted at 5:25 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 20:00:49-04

GREAT FALLS — While piles of leaves were quickly disappearing from the Boulevard District in Great Falls on Thursday through the city's annual leaf collection process, plenty were still being left behind.

That's in part because of the new process the city is using in 2021 - giant vacuums to collect leaves.

"The one machine that's behind me is self-contained, so it's operated from inside the cab of the pickup. the other two new machines are tow-behinds but they're operated by an operator sitting on the machines,” explained Todd Seymanski, City of Great Falls Forester.

That means there won't be anybody raking up leaves for collection.

"All the leaves need to be out on the outer side of the boulevard, not covered up with stuff. If you do cover them, we ask that you uncover them the morning of your scheduled leaf pickup,” said Seymanski.

Any that can't be reached get left behind.

"The main reason we're collecting leaves is to help the streets and the sewer drains, to keep them from being clogged up,” Seymanski explained.

Once collected, the leaves are turned into compost for residents to pick up and use.

If you miss your collection date and want to get rid of your leaves, Seymanski suggests contacting your sanitation provider and asking them what they’d prefer. He added, however, that if weather allows the collection crews can come back after they finish their original schedule, which runs through November 16.

From the city website:

New this year, the Forestry Division is utilizing new leaf pick up equipment that requires critical placement of leaf piles. There will be no manual raking done this year. Please reference the following tips for leaf placement:
  • Place your leaf piles within the boulevard, closest to the street side. Do not place leaves towards the sidewalk or in the gutter.
  • Do not place leaves around parked vehicles, as the new machines need a minimum of 1 foot clearance of any obstacle.
  • Do not place leaves around tree bases, signs, light poles, or any other obstacles.

To avoid obstructing traffic or clogging storm drains, residents are being asked to deposit leaves on the boulevard next to the curb and not in the street

For more information, call the Park & Recreation office at 771-1265, and check the City website and the Park & Recreation Facebook page for updates.