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McLean and Idylwood hit with delays in county leaf collections

Fallen leaves on the ground (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

With winter on the horizon, Fairfax County is still racing to suck up the last leafy vestiges of autumn.

Specifically, the county’s crews have yet to pick up leaves in McLean and Idylwood, as a combination of staffing shortages, equipment issues and an early leaf fall have delayed collections, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services acknowledged yesterday.

The county will deploy multiple trucks and has hired an additional contractor to collect leaves in both areas on Monday (Dec. 19), a deviation from its typical approach of serving each of its nine collection areas separately.

“By dividing resources, it will take additional time to complete each area,” DPWES said. “Service in both remaining areas will begin concurrently. Vacuum collection staff have been working 10-hour shifts and most Saturdays and will continue to do so.”

About 25,000 residents receive leaf collection services from the county, all of them concentrated on the east side, especially the Mason District. Pickups have been completed in areas three through nine.

Public works services nationwide have been affected by a depletion of truck drivers and other essential employees. Fairfax County had to make some tweaks to its yard waste collections last fall due to a shortage of haulers, and trash pickups continue to be a struggle.

DPWES says it doesn’t have “a mechanism in place” allowing residents to get their leaf collection taxes refunded, but they can opt out of county services by petitioning the Board of Supervisors to “de-create” their vacuum leaf district.

According to the county website, the petition process to create or expand sanitary districts reopened on Dec. 1, but with DPWES apparently at full staff and equipment capacity, the department plans to use private contractors for any additional service areas.

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