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A Note About Leaves and Safety Measures
Release Date: November 10, 2005
A NOTE ABOUT LEAVES
The Village of Rye Brook Department of Public Works collects fall leaves throughout the Village, curbside. The “season” generally begins on or about the first week of October and concludes by the end of December. Our service goal to our residents is that no leaf pile will remain uncollected for more than three weeks.
To collect leaves, the highway department uses very powerful vacuum trucks with a large capacity hopper. You probably have seen these large white machines on the road pulled by our yellow highway trucks. Each machine has a capacity of 25 cubic yards and weighs 24,000 pounds. On average, over 12,000 yards of leaves are collected from the Village streets each season.
Did you know your leaves are turned into topsoil at our Village Compost facility on Lincoln Avenue? The leaves are piled into long windrows, piles approximately 15 feet high and over 200 feet long. The leaves biodegrade through the winter. In early spring, the Village grinds the leaves to fine mulch to aid in the natural decomposition. The piles are then turned and mixed with our processed green waste and wood waste. After several months, this mixture becomes rich compost, perfect for those summer tomatoes.
The Village Public Works has created a small compost storage bin outside of our Lincoln Avenue compost facility. This topsoil is available for all Village residents, free of charge. It is great for growing grass or mixing in to your garden. You can take as much as you can carry in a small container. We do not permit commercial use of this material by landscapers. It is for our residents.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT SAFETY
The leaf removal operation is a potentially dangerous operation as the equipment is large, loud and powerful. Basically, the machinery develops a very strong vacuume. In fact, our machinery produces 22,000 cfm. At the end of the vacuum is a 16 diameter suction hose. Leaves are drawn into this hose and then pass through the vacuum’s impellor. This grinds the leaves into small bits, the first step in our composting operation.
This strong vacuum can draw many items into the machinery. Anything that is picked up passes through the steel impellor to be macerated. Rocks, flower pots, metal spikes, balls, sticks, branches, brooms and rakes all have found their way into the equipment. If a foreign object, such as a metal spike, or stone were to reach the impellor, it is possible that it will cause the metal housing to shatter and result in a projectile flying from the machine at high speed. Luckily, due to quick action by our workers to stop the machinery before some items reach the impellor, we have had no injuries.
We ask all residents to please be aware of the dangers and not mix any debris with the leaves. Keep all branches separated from the leaf pile, bundled and tied for separate collection. Inform your gardeners to keep debris, branches, and other material from the leaf pile.With your cooperation, it is our hope that the leaves will be collected safely and efficiently.
Victor G. Carosi, P.E.
Village Engineer/Director of Public Works