Concord leaf pickup to start Oct. 28, with both bagged and vacuumed-up systems

  • Michael Rayno picks up leaves in front of his house on Stone Street in the South End on Tuesday. The leaf pickup this year begins on Oct. 28 in the South End. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Michael Rayno blows leaves in front of his house on Stone Street in Concord on Tuesday. The leaf collection program this year begins in the city’s South End on Oct. 28. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Michael Rayno blows leaves in front of his house on Stone Street in the South End on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. The leaf pickup this year begins on October 28th in the South End. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/15/2019 3:52:26 PM

The City of Concord has adjusted its leaf collecting schedule this year to make the process “more fair” to residents in the South End, with pickup beginning Oct. 28.

In the past, the road crew that collects leaves in the South End always took the same route, starting at the Bow town line. That meant the same locations were always at the end of the route and were left with piles of frozen leaves if pickup was cut short by a snowstorm.

This year, crews will instead begin at Blossom Hill Cemetery on Oct. 28 and work south, and will change next year.

“The starting location will rotate back again next year and will continue to alternate to give residents a better chance of program participation,” said Chip Chesley, Director of Concord General Services.

Crews in the north and east side of the city already rotate their starting locations each year.

Last year, the city introduced fall bagged collection – allowing residents to bag their leaves – to go along with the long-running curbside bulk collection, where leaves are raked to the curb to be vacuumed up. Bagged collection begins this year in Concord on Nov. 18. Concord is the only city in the state that uses the vacuum system, which is more convenient for residents but easily snarled by bad weather. Bulk collection has been halted by snow several times in recent years.

This year, one vacuum crew will start at Blossom Hill Cemetery, the second crew will start on Elm Street in Penacook and work south, and the third crew will start on Manchester Street and work north on the east side of the river.

Once collection starts, residents can view the city’s Fall Leaf Collection Map to see where crews have finished collecting.

Bulk collection will continue through Dec. 6, weather permitting. The city says “it is not possible to predict when crews will reach certain areas” except for the region around the high school, where pickup occurs Nov. 11, in coordination with the Veteran’s Day school closure.

“It’s best to be ready early and have leaves ready by the start of collection, but also be prepared for weather,” said Jim Major, Highway & Utilities Superintendent for Concord General Services. “Snow may suspend bulk collection, like last year, due to leaves being blanketed with snow and leaves freezing to the ground. Use your best judgment by keeping an eye on the weather and consider utilizing bagged collection.”

Bagged leaves are collected by the city’s trash contractor, Casella. Leaves must be placed in biodegradable yard waste bags or labeled rigid containers such as trash barrels. Leaves must be placed curbside by 7 a.m. each Monday during bagged collection, regardless of a resident’s trash day.

Bagged collection in the fall differs from spring collection in that leaves will be collected separately from trash and recycling.

An alternative is to mulch the leaves into your lawn by running over them with a lawnmower or mulching blade, which avoids all the raking.

Brush, branches, and limbs are not acceptable materials for the City’s leaf collection, but can be dropped off separately at Gelinas Excavation & Earth Materials Recycling Center, 10 Intervale Road, off Fort Eddy Road, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday dropoff will be available from 8 a.m. to noon during November and on Dec. 7, weather permitting. Such dropoff will be charged a fee.

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