DC's leaf collection behind schedule; city officials, residents want answers

If you've been driving around in D.C. for the past few weeks, you're sure to have seen some areas with big piles of leaves – and it could stay that way a little longer.

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The city's leaf collection is behind schedule. Arthur Kparr says in the 10 years he's been back in D.C., he's never known the leaf pickup to be this late, and he wants something done about it.

"It’s ironic because my wife literally like slipped in the leaves," he says. "She’s like, ‘Are they going to do anything?’ I was like, 'They’re supposed to collect this stuff by now.'"

The mounds of leaves are even getting in the way of Amazon delivery drivers like Dionte Daniels.

"They need to do something with these leaves because they make you slip and slide and take off the way you don’t want to take off," he says.

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FOX 5 did see some leaf collection trucks on the move near Constitution Ave. on Tuesday.

The Department of Public Works says the leaf collection was delayed by about 10 days for various reasons from personnel changes to weather to other unforeseen circumstances.

Ward 3 council member Mary Cheh, who is also chair of the council's committee that oversees the Department of Public Works, says she's not satisfied with the answers she got for the delays.

"I have been in touch with the director some while ago because I, as you might imagine, get emails from residents saying, ‘What’s going on?’" she says.

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She says she worries about what waiting too long will mean for the District.

"When the leaves pile up in the road, and then you get some storm clumps of them moving down toward drains and blocking the drains, that’s a very serious problem," Cheh says.

Last week, DC Fire put out fires that damaged two cars. They say while the cause is undetermined, they are still warning drivers against parking on piles of leaves because they can be ignited by hot catalytic converters.

Cheh also says if this isn't addressed soon, there could be an issue as we head into January since the trucks used for leaf pickup are converted into plows for when it snows.


FOX 5 reached out to the Department of Public Works for comment but did not hear back.

Cheh also says drivers need to watch out for children who may be playing in the piles of leaves in the street. She says she wants parents to make sure children are playing in piles that are in the yard or tree box.