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Cities lay out rules for yard waste, leaf burning this fall

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Connection

Check local regulations about the best way to dispose of the leaves in your yard, since they differ from town to town.
Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Connection Check local regulations about the best way to dispose of the leaves in your yard, since they differ from town to town.

With fall weather slowly on its way residents will have yards covered in leaves and other yard waste. Burning waste within the city limits is allowed in Fairfield, Mt. Pleasant and Washington. Each city also provides additional options for yard waste removal.

According to City of Fairfield Utilities Clerk Casey Miller, leaves can be burned in the months of April, October and November on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Burning is only allowed during the day, weather permitting. In case of rain or high wind, burning is not permitted.

In Washington, leaves can be burned any day at any time. City Clerk Illa Earnest recommends homeowners not burn anything wet and have a buck of water or hose nearby at all times. In both cities, it must take place on private property and not in an alley, street or other owned property. The City of Mt. Pleasant has the rules for leaf burning listed on their website. It says citizens may burn yard waste, leaves and small branches at any time.

For those who cannot or chose not burn leaves, there are other options as well. In Washington, Earnest said the maintenance department will send a leaf vac around, beginning Oct. 21. Citizens need to rake their leaves to the curb and the maintenance crews will make weekly trips to collect them. They start in the northwest corner of the city, she said and continue counterclockwise.

Earnest said the city bought the leaf vac a few years ago after hearing complaints from citizens about the smell of burning leaves. She said the vacuum has reduced those complaints considerably and has also created a safer environment. Now, citizens have an alternative to creating large bonfires that run the risk of spreading.

In Fairfield, Miller said citizens can bag leaves in brown bags available for purchase at Hy-Vee or City Hall. Yard waste in these bags is collected by Waste Management on the citizens specified day of pick up. Mt. Pleasant citizens have access to a free leaf pickup program, according to the city website. All leaves must be bagged and placed at the curb on the designated week. The service is available to all citizens, regardless if they use city garbage collection.

For sticks, Washington citizens can place them in bundles on the curb as well. The bundles must be no longer than four-and-a-half-feet long and no larger than 18 inches tall. They must be tied together with twine or another biodegradable product, Earnest said.

Earnest said pickup for sticks will take place on Tuesdays for citizens on the west side of Second Avenue and Thursday for those on the east side of Second Avenue. Fairfield residents only have one designated day a year, Oct. 7, for stick pick up, Miller said. In both cities, the collected sticks and leaves are turned into mulch and compost for citizens to use for free.

For some outlying towns in Washington County, the specifications are listed on the town’s website. In Keota, burning of trash and leaves is not allowed within the city limits. Citizens may take leaves to the city property east of town for disposal. Riverside citizens can leave branches and twigs on the curb to be picked up the first Wednesday of every month from April to November. Burning of trash or leaves is not prohibited within city limits, city ordinance states.

Other towns in Washington County have rules and regulations for buying listed in the code of ordinances. Citizens in Kalona may burn leaves during April, May, October and November. Burning is restricted to Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

According to an ordinance in Brighton, yard waste can be burned by citizens once they receive permission from the city. Trees and branches may be burned at a city-operated burning site. Wellman citizens may burn yard waste on private property. Citizens can also separate their yard waste, except tree limbs and stumps, into approved disposable bags available in town. Limbs and stumps must be tagged with a Brush Tag and placed on the curb in order to be collected as “bulky rubbish.” In Columbus Junction, citizens cannot burn leaves or trash of any kind on city streets or alleys.

In Henry County, New London city ordinance allows citizens to burn yard waste on their own private property. Brush, trees and limbs tied with a biodegradable material and bundled can be left on the curb for city crews to pick up. Other yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings, can be placed into 32 gallon containers disposable containers for pick up. Winfield’s ordinance allows citizens to burn leaves or sticks on private property. Trees or large limbs must be burned at a city-operated site.

According to the city website, citizens in Wayland can haul yard waste to the city lagoon on South Pearl Street. Citizens are also allowed to collect from the mulch pile. Leaf pickup is available each fall. Leaves must be raked on the edge of the street. According to city ordinance, burning is prohibited on private property unless approved by the city council.