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South Salt Lake Journal

SSL programs help homeowners with fall yard cleanup

Oct 26, 2020 04:10PM ● By Bill Hardesty

Mulch, made from fallen trees, is ready to be spread at Fitts Park. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

Leaves will fall and tree branches will break despite the worldwide pandemic. The good news is that for South Salt Lake residents, the city is ready to help with the autumn cleanup.

Replacing and mulching

When the hurricane force winds hit South Salt Lake in early September, Fitts Park and Central Park lost trees. 

“Unfortunately, we lost five trees at Fitts Park due to the wind event. Three were medium-sized ash trees, one large maple, and a small chokecherry tree,” Joaquin Garcia, SSL Parks and Facilities manager, said. “While any tree is a loss, these will be missed by those who would lay in the shade of the ash trees next to the creek and playground. They signified the change of the season from summer to fall, as the leaves were the first to change to a beautiful yellow color. The maple we lost wasn't in the best condition but was the second tallest tree we had in the park.”

On the bright side, they chipped up and repurposed the trees as mulch for the remaining trees.

The city was able to plant five trees at Fitts Park and five trees at Central Park. A variety of groups, including those from an employee volunteer day, Tree Utah project and even a Girl Scout troop helped spread the mulch.

“We are always looking for volunteers to help with tree care and park cleanup,” said Sharen Hauri, Urban Design director.

In addition to trees lost at the parks, David Alexander, Street Division manager, said, “The September wind event impacted both public and private properties. We estimate a loss of somewhere around 75 to 100 street trees. Our street crews worked long days to remove large piles of trees for eight days.”

Leaf bags

Even though residents and the city lost trees, there are still trees full of leaves that with the cooler weather are starting to fall.

Each year, SSL provides five leaf bags at no cost to residents. They can be picked up at the Public Works building, 195 W. Oakland Ave., or requested by calling 801-483-6045. You will need to provide your name and address to ensure you are SSL resident. If you pick them up, you will need to show a valid ID with a SSL address.

The program runs through the end of November.

The city-provided bags, as well as other small to large plastic garbage bags, will be picked up curbside. The leaves are taken to the landfill for their compost program.

The bags cannot exceed 40 pounds and must only contain leaves. If the bags exceed 40 pounds, Public Works will leave a note and you are responsible for the removal.

It is important that the bags are not placed in the street, gutter, ditches, or other drainage way because this can obstruct the flow of stormwater. Any leaves raked into the street will not be removed by the city and homeowners/renters may be fined for placing debris in the roadway.

Public Works encourages residents to “clear leaves and other debris from the tops of catch basins adjacent to their property during the fall leaf collection period. This helps prevent localized flooding conditions during the fall and winter months.”

Other cleanup options

In May and November, SSLC sponsor yard cleanup. Residents can place yard debris for the city to take away with some requirements. The yard debris can be placed between the sidewalk and the curb (also called the parking strip), but it cannot be on the roadway or the sidewalk on main arterial streets. On non-arterial streets, the yard debris can be placed either on the parking strip or in the street, but no further than 8 inches from the curb. No stack can impede the flow of traffic nor the flow of pedestrians nor access to fire hydrants or meters. Stacks cannot be higher than 4 feet. Loose clippings or trimmings must be contained in a package not weighing more than 80 pounds. Limbs and branches must be shorter than 6 feet and no part of a tree more than 8 inches in diameter or weighing more than 80 pounds can be added to the stack.

The city will notify residents of their pick-up times through fliers, statements on utility billings or other means.

Transfer station: Free passes are available for the transfer station located at 502 W. 3300 South. A transfer station is where waste is consolidated for transfer to a permanent location. This is an alternative to driving across the valley to the Salt Lake Valley Landfill, which can cost $10 or more depending on load weight. With a free pass, residents can dispose of bulk waste including home remodeling material on the first and third Saturdays between 7 and 11 a.m. Passes are available in the Community Development Department. Call 801-483-6074 and one will be sent.

Roll-off dumpsters: Residents can rent a 12-feet by 8-feet by 4-feet roll-off dumpster for $25. Elsewhere, the same rental could cost you up to $295. This program is popular and the dumpster rental times go fast every summer. According to the SSLC website, "Residents may use roll-off containers to dispose of yard refuse and debris, including tree limbs, leaves, shrubbery, and grass trimmings, as well as items such as used carpet, appliances, auto parts, etc."

Residents need to call 801-483-6000 to check available dates or stop by City Hall to make a reservation. Reservations are not accepted by phone and are made on a first come, first served basis. Containers go fast so it's best to book in advance and have alternative dates available in case your first request is booked. Deliveries are made on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.