The City of Iowa City Streets Division is finalizing preparations for this year's curbside leaf vacuum service, which gets underway Monday, Oct. 19. Weather permitting, each designated area of town will be visited by leaf vacuum crews a minimum of four times before the program ends just before Thanksgiving.
Leaf vacuum instructions and printed maps that detail the dates leaf crews will be in specific neighborhoods were mailed with City utility bills in September. The information is also available online at www.icgov.org/leafvacuum. Printed copies are available at City Hall at 410 E. Washington Street; Public Library at 123 S. Linn; Robert A. Lee Recreation Center at 220 S. Gilbert; Senior Center at 28 S. Linn; and the Streets Division office at 3800 Napoleon Lane.
The City of Iowa City offers an e-subscription program to keep residents apprised of leaf vacuum schedules. Subscribers may go to www.icgov.org/e-subscriptions to sign up. Updates will also be posted to social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
Here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly and efficiently for residents and the leaf pick-up crews:
- Rake leaves into sizeable piles on the City right-of-way -- the area between the sidewalk and the street curb -- in front of your house. Rake them into an open area that is not around mailboxes, signposts or other structures. Leaf piles should be at least the size of a yard waste bag.
- Leaves only, please. The vacuum cannot pick up other types of yard waste such as sticks or garden refuse.
- To ensure the vacuum hose can reach, leaf piles should be no further than five feet from the curb.
- Do not rake leaves into the street or into the storm sewer. Also, do not burn leaves, as open burning is banned by City ordinance.
- Have leaves at the curb by 7 a.m. on the first day listed for pick-ups in your neighborhood. For example, if the pick-up is scheduled for Oct. 19 or 20, leaves should be ready the morning of the 19th.
- If workloads are light, crews may make extra trips around neighborhoods. These will not impact a regular pick-up day. Crews will be back in the neighborhood for the originally assigned leaf vacuum day.
- Parked cars impede leaf vacuuming. In some areas where on-street parking is heavy, "No Parking" signs will be posted while leaf crews are in the area. Where calendar parking is enforced, leaf pick-up will occur on the side of the street without parking. In all other areas, drivers should avoid parking near leaf piles on scheduled pick-up days.
In spite of advance preparation, maintaining the leaf vacuuming schedule depends largely on weather conditions and the status of equipment. Residents are advised not to delay leaf raking, as an early winter could shift the allocation of equipment and crews to snow removal duties, shutting down leaf pick-up for the season.
City of Iowa City yard waste bags, imprinted with the City logo, can also be used for leaf disposal. They are available for sale for $1.25 per bag at the Cashier’s Office at City Hall at 410 E. Washington Street as well as participating Iowa City grocery, hardware and general merchandise stores. Generic paper yard waste bags cannot be substituted.
For more information, review the leaf vacuum instructions at www.icgov.org/leafvacuum or contact the Streets Division at 319-356-5181.