11/23/04 — Leaves get more attention than litter with vacuum

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Leaves get more attention than litter with vacuum

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on November 23, 2004 2:03 PM

Goldsboro is using its custom-made litter vacuum machine as a traditional leaf collector.

And unless the city gets specific complaints, the trash lining the sides of the road will have to stay there until spring.

"During this time we're only using it as a litter vac periodically," said General Services Manager Joe Sawyer. "Right now the leaves are our top priority."

But when the City Council agreed last spring to spend extra money for a litter vacuum, members said it was to make sure that litter removal remained a top priority.

Councilman Bob Waller said today that he didn't know the machine wasn't being used as a litter vacuum.

"I'll follow up on that," Waller said.

In March, the council expressed concern about trash on streets.

The council decided to buy a special vacuum that would suck trash from up to 25 feet off the road.

Several months later the vacuum was ordered, and it was delivered in August.

Even though the $14,000 machine was tailored to be a litter vacuum, workers from the General Services Department still had to make some adjustments before it could be used.

The machine is attached to an enclosed dump truck. The litter vacuum can reach up to 25 feet from the side of the street to collect litter and trash. A test was first conducted by the General Services Department to see if the new vacuum machine could suck up the trash efficiently and economically.

"The boom was still a little long," said Sawyer. "It was a little difficult to maneuver."

After making a few changes, the city took the vacuum to the streets in September.

However, once leaves began falling, Sawyer said he needed to use the machine, and the personnel, to keep up with leaf collection.

"I don't have enough manpower to do both," Sawyer said. "But if someone complains about litter on a street, we'll go out and take care of it."

Sawyer estimated that the leaf-collection season could last until March.