This year is the first year that the City is responsible for leaf pick up and disposal. In previous years we would pick up the leaves in bags and take it to Columbia County for disposal. Columbia County is no longer accepting leaves from any municipality. The City will still collect bag leaves curbside. We will be tracking our time and cost as we exam different measures for the leaves. In the immediate future these measures include picking up leaves in plastic bags. As you may or may not be aware plastic bags are not allowed at the Airport Road site. The City would prefer residents to take the leaves to the Airport Road site to have the leaves turned into compost it is the shortest in duration trip and best for the environment. City employees will have to cut open the bags and dispose of the plastic bags before taking leaves to the Airport.
This spring we will be cutting bags open and dumping loose leaves into out trucks. The bags should only contain leaves and small branches. Large branches can be picked up curbside during brush collection (see city website at www.portagewi.gov for these dates). If any bags are found with garbage or dog feces, these bags will be tagged and it will be your responsibility to responsibly dispose of these bags.
While it is not required at this time it would be preferred to have the leaves in the paper yard waste bags since we are able to compost the paper bags. Other methods that will be looked at is hauling the leaves to a solid waste facility to be landfilled or looking at loose leaf curbside pickup. Loose leaf curbside pickup carries a hefty initial startup cost of purchasing the equipment. The other issue far greater than initial cost is the potential impacts to the Wisconsin River and Fox River. The city is currently working with a consultant to model the City’s storm water quality. In the fall when loose leaves mix with water it creates a leaf tea. The leaf tea is high in suspended solids and phosphorous. This leaf tea gets transported via curb and gutter, ditches and storm sewers to the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers. Large amounts of leaves left curbside create more leaf tea. We will know more about these impacts in early 2020 and will be better suited to make additional recommendations at that time.
We appreciate everyone’s patience while the City goes through this transition period and if you have any questions please contact City Hall.