Riverhead highway workers will begin picking up loose leaves in front of homes on Monday, Dec. 1, for residents living in the eastern portion of the town, stretching from Laurel Lane on the east to Northville Turnpike, said Highway Superintendent George Woodson.
The department plans to spend three weeks picking up loose leaves, starting east and heading west.
Pickups in the center portion of town, from Northville Turnpike to Hulse Landing Road, will start Monday, Dec.8, followed by the western part of town, from Hulse Landing Road to the Brookhaven line, on Monday, Dec. 15.
Unfortunately, the free biodegradable paper bags the highway department was giving out are all gone, Mr. Woodson said.
“It’s too late now,” Mr. Woodson said. “We ran out of them last Friday. We had them for about a month, but they’re all gone, the whole tractor-trailer load.”
He said the department had about 20 pallets of paper biodegradable bags that were given out free, and that they will not be getting any more.
The town gave about about 30 to 35 free bags to each residents who asked for them, Mr. Woodson said.
The bags can still be purchased in most hardware stores, he said.
The town is not accepting leaves in plastic bags.
While use of the bags helps the department in the leaf program, Riverhead is one of the few towns that still allows residents to put loose leaves on the curb for pickup by the highway department.
“We’ll continue doing the loose leaf pickups, so long as we can do them in a three-week period,” Mr. Woodson said.
Residents are asked not to rake the leaves in a line across their property, but rather to put them in one pile. In addition, they should not be in the roadway or blocking drains, and should be piled on residents’ property.
“They can be in a pile in front of their house but not in the road,” Mr. Woodson said. “When we get rain, all the people that put them out in the road are clogging the drains.”
In addition, Mr. Woodson asks that people not put the loose leaves out until about a week before the town’s pickup is scheduled, so they don’t blow all over.
The trucks will only be coming through each neighborhood once, so the department can finish installing snow fencing and getting the snow plows ready, Mr. Woodson said.
“We’re trying to be green and to keep people from blocking the drains and letting their leaves blow into other people’s yards,” he said. “We’re running out of places to dump the leaves, and the farmers don’t want them anymore. In the past, I’d get about four or five farmers that wanted the leaves, but there’s only one or two this year. We get less and less people that want them.”
For now, Mr. Woodson said, the town will dump the leaves at its Youngs Avenue landfill property.
Residents also can put out bagged leaves, in biodegradable paper bags, every two weeks for pickup by their garbage district carter year round, Mr. Woodson said.