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DPW Rushes Collection of Leaves, Brush in Boro

Department hopes to have pickup completed by Dec. 21.

The Chatham Borough Council agreed to a second limited leaf and brush collection by the Department of Public Works, which they hope will be completed by Dec. 21.

Robert Venezia, the head of the DPW, told the council his employees had worked overtime and over weekends since Nov. 26 to complete the first round of leaf collection. In spite of this, residents already put leaves back on the curb in areas the DPW had already collected from.

"We just did Watchung on Saturday, and more leaves are there already," Venezia said.

Venezia estimates the DPW could complete the first round of leaf pick-up by Wednesday or Thursday, at which point he could either do a second round of pick-up or convert the trucks for snow instead.

"We've had two snow storms that required plowing and [salt] spreading," Venezia said. "I need to break down two more trucks for snow."

Stan Serbenica of the DPW conducted a survey of locations in town that still have leaves or brush outside their homes. He found about 65 homes with brush, down from about 165 homes last week.

Venezia said Serbenical also compiled a list of homes with leaves along the curb from after the DPW's pickup. He said it would be possible to go back only to the houses on Serbenica's list rather than doing another run through the entire town.

When the council asked Venezia what he recommended, Venezia said, "We can get through the leaves and get another round done by the weekend, then we can send one team out next week for brush pick-up."

"Then that's what we'll do," Council President James Lonergan said. "We'll finish out one round, then we'll go just to the areas we know about. ...

"This is best efforts only," Lonergan said. If the DPW is unable to complete the second leaf pick-up, they will issue notices to residents and open the mulch area for residents to bring in their leaves, bags for which can be purchased at local hardware stores.

Venezia said after Dec. 21 he wants to focus on stump removal and other pick-up from Superstorm Sandy. "Another eight trees have fallen down on borough poperty," he said, "and we need to get stumps out of the way."

Stumps from fallen trees have uprooted sidewalks and caused hazardous walking conditions in several areas, including areas that are along walking routes to schools. Venezia said he wants to have a team on stump removal as soon as possible before more inclement weather hits.

"I definitely want to get another spreader out before the weekend," he said.

Brush pickup will only include yard waste that is less than 4 inches in diameter. Anything larger will not be collected by the DPW.

"Next week we'll have one crew on brush and one or two crews on stumps," Venezia said.

kjchat December 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
second collection??? Mine haven't been picked up a first time yet, and they've been out there since the say after Sandy!!
Hugs December 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Mine have been picked up on schedule and per the town calendar which clearly states the schedule (with the exception of a delay due to Sandy cleanup). My leaves were picked up on 11/26 (supposedly the last pass thru town) as clearly defined in the calendar and newspaper. I guess now I will benefit from another pickup as long as I pile all my crap in my neighbor's pile which was noted by DPW late last week. At this rate, the town will never stop collecting leaves and brush!!
kjchat December 11, 2012 at 06:21 PM
you can cite "as per the town calendar" all you want, my leaves, as well as my entire block's, have been out since 10/30 and are yet to be picked up once.. not brush, leaves...

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