City offers free leaf disposal

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With breezy, rainy weather in the forecast, Vancouver residents are encouraged to act now to prevent localized street flooding by gathering up autumn leaves and disposing of them for free.

In Vancouver, leaves should never be raked or blown into the streets. Street sweepers sweep, not vacuum, so they're no match for piles of leaves. Leaves in the street clog stormwater catch basin drains. When rain can't flow down the drain, it backs up onto the street.

To help prevent such problems, the City of Vancouver and Clark County offer a free program that allows residents to use a coupon to dispose of leaves only, at no charge, at two different sites: H & H Wood Recyclers, 8401 NE 117th Ave., and West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 NW Old Lower River Road. Leaf coupons, which list disposal hours, are available at many City of Vancouver offices, in the latest residential Curbside Recycling Newsletter, and on the City of Vancouver's Solid Waste Services website at www.cityofvancouver.us/solidwaste.

Other options include containing and managing leaves for creating mulch or compost or subscribing to the optional yard debris collection service available from Waste Connections Inc. by calling 360-892-5370.

Stormwater crews at the City of Vancouver's Operations Center, a division of the Department of Public Works, work hard to keep streets free of debris and clean each of the city's approximately 13,000 catch basin drains each year. But autumn can be challenging, especially if unaware property owners or landscapers put leaves into the streets where they don't belong.

Should stormwater catch basins become clogged during heavy rains, residents are encouraged to help clear them if they are able to stand safely on the curb, out of traffic, and use a rake or a broom to remove the leaves and debris. When catch basins remain clogged or can't be safely cleared and localized flooding is an issue, residents should call Vancouver's Operations Center at 360-696-8177 to report the problem. Regular requests for services may also be made online at www.cityofvancouver.us/PublicWorksService.