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Remember to keep your grass out of our gutters!

Remember to keep your grass out of our gutters!

Spring and summer is the heart of lawn-mowing season, so we’re in the thick of it now. But did you know that grass clippings and other yard waste left in the street can cause flooding and storm water drainage problems for Riverdale? That’s because grass clippings in the street ultimately end up in a storm drain. Once in the drain, they can build up and clog pipes and cause drain issues.

This sophisticated diagram spells out what you need to keep in mind when it comes to cutting your grass next to the street.

In Riverdale, we have free, curbside pick-up of yard waste from April through October (and, sometimes, into November), so there’s no reason for residents to leave their lawn clippings, leaves and other plant refuse in the street.

Also, did you know that grass clippings and other yard waste in the streets can cause high levels of nutrients in local creeks and streams which can result in algae problems? It’s better for you to leave your grass clippings on your yard to help restore nutrients back into the soil and increase the amount of organic materials in your soil.

Grass on the road can also be a hazard to motorists, especially motorcyclists and bicyclists. If a two-wheeled vehicle hits a patch of grass in the road, the unstable nature of the grass pile can result in the bike losing traction on the road and, thus, losing control. 

According to Justin Lovely, in this article on the GreenPal website

“Grass clippings in the roadway can be extremely hazardous to the rider and even deadly. Rider’s are taught about potential *gravel* on the road but far too often forget about the dangers of grass. In our area we often see this on the back country rural roads.” 

“Rider’s don’t think about it because the rider is often on pavement or other city roads where this is really not an issue. The moment the rider decides to go on the secondary roads, he or she needs to be thinking and looking out for grass.”

Solutions For Your Grass Problem

There are a number of things you can do to make sure you and your grass clippings are not the cause of Riverdale’s next great storm water management problem.

  • If your mower shoots grass clippings out of the side, make sure you mow a few passes with your mower blowing towards your yard and not into the street – do it first, before you get going on the rest of your yard.

  • If you bag your grass with your mower, make sure you transfer the grass into your disposal bags away from the curb and street.
  • If you mulch, you’re good. Mulch-mowing will not blog grass out the side which means you shouldn’t have to worry about grass blowing into the street.
Curbside yard waste pick up to resume on May4 – say goodbye to the dumpsters!

Curbside yard waste pick up to resume on May4 – say goodbye to the dumpsters!

Republic Services has notified the City that they intend to resume curbside, yard waste pick-up on May 4. To get ready, Republic has been instructed to remove the dumpsters in Volunteer Park and at the end of Kensington Street on Tuesday, April 28th.

The yard waste dumpster at Volunteer Park is very full. If it’s possible for you to wait until May 4 to have your yard waste picked up, please do so.

The next, big, bulky waste clean-up day for Riverdale will be this fall (probably in October). Please check the website and e-newsletters for udpates.

Appliance recycling pick-ups scheduled for May 1. Make sure you’re on the list by Tuesday.

Appliance recycling pick-ups scheduled for May 1. Make sure you’re on the list by Tuesday.

As part of the City’s effort to help residents get rid of their bulky waste this month, residents were asked to notify City Hall if they had an appliance they would like to have hauled away on May 1. The deadline for getting on the “pick up list” is Tuesday, April 28.

The program – the first time it’s been offered by the City – was announced on April 1st after Republic Services notified the City they had to suspend their curbside yard waste pick-up service indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak and that they would be unable to participate in the planned Citywide Clean-Up Day on April 18.

While the bulky waste dumpsters delivered to Volunteer Park and Kensington Street were able to accommodate most bulky waste,  residents are asked to not use them to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste) or appliances (white goods). E-waste collection is still suspended until the Waste Commission of Scott County resumes accepting it. White goods disposal/recycling will be done by the City on Friday, May 1st.

Residents are asked to notify City Hall by calling during regular business hours or by using the form, below, to get on the list for a pick-up. Appliances should be to the curb the night before and, if possible, doors should be removed.  Later this week, the City will notify residents who are on the list as to when the City’s maintenance person can be expected to come by and pick up their item(s).

Appliance Pick-Up Request

Please give us your email or phone number so we can contact you with questions or to discuss alternative times for pick-up.
Please give us your preferred time. We will email you a confirmation once we have a schedule of pick-ups completed (on or before April 28).

Bulky waste dumpsters to be picked up on April 28

Bulky waste dumpsters to be picked up on April 28

Bulky waste dumpsters in the parking lot of Volunteer Park (at the top of Riverdale hill) and at the end of Kensington Street will be picked up and hauled away on April 28.

Under the agreement worked out between the City of Riverdale and our waste/recycling hauler, Republic Services, the roll-off dumpsters for bulky waste and flood clean-up would be available until the end of April. The dumpster in the parking lot of Volunteer Park for yard waste will remain until Republic resumes curbside yard waste pick-up.

Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Riverdale and Republic work out a solution for bulky and yard waste collection.

Last week’s announcement by Republic Services that they would suspend collection of bulky waste and yard waste could not have occurred at a less opportune time for the City of Riverdale.

According to Municipal Services Manager for Republic, Matt Pivet, the decision was a corporate-wide mandate. “We have operations across the country and while we’re not dealing with safety issues here now, Republic is having to deal with COVID-19-related issues in other parts of the country.”

That’s not to say Republic and Riverdale weren’t able to work out a solution, however.

In coming days, Republic will be dropping off three, roll-off dumpsters in Riverdale for the collection of bulky waste and yard waste from Riverdale residents. It’s not as convenient as curb-side pick-up, but it’s better than no pick up at all.

Volunteer Square Park

Two dumpsters will be located in the parking lot at Volunteer Square Park (where Republic’s trucks will be able to access them to tow and replace). One dumpster will be there for two weeks to collect bulky waste – but no e-waste or appliances (more on that, later on in this article).

The second dumpster will be there to collect yard waste and will be changed periodically throughout the coming months until Republic is able to resume its curb-side service. Please note that the second dumpster is for organic materials, only. Not garbage.

Kensington Street – Havens Acres Area

In the Havens Acres neighborhood, Republic will be dropping off a dumpster at the end of Kensington Street, next to the path connecting the street to the MRT. That dumpster will be for bulky waste only – no e-waste or appliances, please. Residents can also put material used to fight the flood (i.e. sandbags, plastic, etc.) that has come into contact with water from the creek. Unlike the bulky waste dumpster in Volunteer Square Park that will be picked up in mid-April, the Havens Acres dumpster will be on-site for as long as needed to clean up after the floodwaters receed.

No e-Waste or HHM Pick-up

The Waste Commission of Scott County has suspended all collection of electronic waste (TVs, stereo equipment, computers, battery-powered devices) until the COVID-19 outbreak has passed. They have also suspended the collection of household hazardous materials (solvents, cleaning supplies, oil-based paints). When the Commission starts collecting these materials again, we will let you know.

How to Dispose of Appliances

The bulky waste dumpsters are not for the collection of appliances. Instead, the City will be collecting appliances from residents on Friday, May 1. If you have appliances you would like to have hauled away on May 1, please call City Hall (563-355–2511) to be put on the list for a pick-up time or use the form below to let us know.

Please give us your email or phone number so we can contact you with questions or to discuss alternative times for pick-up.
Please give us your preferred time. We will email you a confirmation once we have a schedule of pick-ups completed (on or before April 28).
Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Weekend weather wrecks havoc on Riverdale.

Riverdale residents were drenched Friday night with nearly 4 inches of rain in a very short span of time, causing basements to fill with storm water, flash flooding over saturated lands and hillsides, and mounds of mud and debris at intersections along Hwy 67 throughout the City.

Here are my notes (Mike Bawden) from the 3 hours I spent checking out various spots in the City …

Fenno Road/Hwy 67

Water was standing in ditches, with trash and other debris obstructing many of the culverts that would allow water to pass under the highway and make its way toward the river. No word how businesses located south of State Street (Schebler, Arconic and others) fared or were handling the runoff. The neighborhood up and on top of Fenno Hill appeared no worse for wear although we didn’t have a chance to speak to any residents.

SCC Entrance (College Drive)

The entrance to Scott Community College was buried under nearly 8 inches of mud which seems to have come up from the storm water pipes located under the road. Mayor Mike Bawden worked with SCC Dean Matt Schmidt to get a crew from the college out with a skid loader to scoop the entrance out so cars and bicyclists using the MRT could pass.

Arconic Learning Center

There appears to have been a washout under the eastern entrance to the Arconic Learning Center, resulting in the driveway collapsing. The MRT running from the SCC entrance to Manor Drive had standing water on parts of it (and didn’t appear to be draining) but was otherwise passable.

Manor Drive/Circle Drive

Residents living on top of Riverdale Hill reported that their sump pumps were running throughout the night. Some escaped with little to no damage while others had nearly a foot of water standing in their basements when they went down to check on things in the morning. Add to these problems the recent announcement by Republic that it was suspending bulky waste pick-up for the foreseeable future, and there are issues the City will have to deal with on Monday morning.

Woods Estates

Developer Seth Woods was on his tractor first thing in the morning, scraping mud out of the Gwyneth/State Street intersection and putting it back into the development. While the seeding and matting Woods Development had done on the north side of Gwyneth held firm, the bare land left by contractors installing gas and electric lines created an opportunity for the minor mud-slide Woods and his employees had to deal with.

To his credit, Woods was on the scene before the site was inspected by the City. He also had his employees work on parts of the MRT that were covered with mud and debris so bikers could continue to use the trail rather than ride in the street.

Brenny’s Motorcycle Clinic

The Brenny’s complex weathered the storm in fine fashion, although some erosion appears to have taken place under the drainage pipes leading from the new building. Mayor Mike Bawden stopped by to check on Mark Brenny and his crew who were still hard at work, doing business in spite of the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and extreme weather.

Havens Acres

Inspection of Havens Acres showed this neighborhood showed it weathered the storm as well as expected – many of the homes in the area were already dealing with a river and creek at or near flood stage. Pumps were moving water to the street and storm water system. Much of the work that will be done on the roads in the neighborhood this summer will address the catch basins and drainage areas in addition to the street surface and driveway entrances. Some work (behind the curbs) will begin in the next month (weather permitting).

Belmont Road

Taking a quick look at the state of Fox Creek (which runs from by SCC and then under Belmont Road toward the river), there was a lot of debris and the water levels ran high overnight, but we didn’t see any major damage. Flow through this area has increased significantly due to parking lots and other development by PVCSD and SCC. I did not have a chance to speak to residents up by the bend in Belmont Road to see if there were any unique problems.

Photos from my “disaster tour” of Riverdale can be found below:

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

Bulky waste and yard waste pickups suspended due to COVID-19

The City was notified by Republic Services that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were changing the nature of the services they were providing to cities (Riverdale among them) for the foreseeable future.

Specifically, Republic explained they will continue to collect waste from households and businesses, but that they would suspend bulky waste and yard waste pick-ups.

According to Matt Pivit (the Municipal Services Manager from Republic), if your waste material can not fit in your garbage cart, they will not take it. This is to assure that workers are not touching waste. Carts (for both garbage and recycling) are picked up using a robotic arm on the side of the truck collecting material.

Services are expected to resume once the COVID-19 situation is in-hand.

What Will We Do?

Believe it or not, we were working on this problem before the Friday night storm that filled many Riverdale basements with rainwater. What we initially thought would be just a yard waste problem is now something much more substantial and we’re taking this matter very seriously.

Yard Waste. We will be confirming with the Compost Facility that we can bring yard waste to the facility for the foreseeable future. I will also be discussing this with Republic to see if we can reduce the fees we pay them to cover the cost of dropping material off for composting. Assuming this can all be worked out in an agreeable manner, we will advise residents on how we can all work together to dispose of our yard waste during the spring using volunteers, city vehicles and proper social distancing.

For seniors unable to haul/move bags of yard waste, please be patient. Let us know and we’ll work on a solution. 

Bulky Waste. We will be contacting Republic on Monday to see if we can line up two roll-off dumpsters for residents who have bulky waste that they need to remove from their home immediately. This means ruined household items as a result of Friday’s storms. It’s important folks can get this material out of their houses and let their basements dry out so mold doesn’t develop.

If there’s room left in the dumpsters, then we’ll keep them around for another week so people can toss in their other bulky waste. When the dumpsters are full, we’ll have Republic haul them away and take the material to the landfill.

Community Clean-Up. So what are we going to do about our traditional “Community Clean-Up”? It’s likely we’ll still have some kind of clean-up activity later on this year – but it will probably be more focused on picking up litter and roadside waste moreso than household, bulky waste. The City will contact the Waste Commission of Scott County to see if there’s a way we can get plenty of iLiveHere garbage bags, tongs and other tools for households who want to get outside and do something to make Riverdale look even better than usual.

Let us know if you’ve got the “anti-litter” bug and we’ll help get you equipped!

Take charge of your old batteries – here’s how to recycle them.

Take charge of your old batteries – here’s how to recycle them.

With so many wireless and cordless devices in the typical home, battery disposal is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. You have batteries in your laptop, your cell phone, your TV remote and some of the electrical appliances stored in your kitchen drawers.

But not all batteries are created equal.

Throwing your rechargeable batteries away when they’re “dead” could be unsafe. Not only do the chemicals in batteries pose a risk to the environment (if not properly handled), batteries can spark and cause fires or explosions at the waste processing facility or recycling center.

So how should you get rid of your old batteries?

Alkaline Batteries

Single-use batteries (alkaline) are fine to toss in the trash when they run out of juice. These are most often found in flashlights, kids toys, TV remotes and other devices that need to have their batteries replaced when they stop working. (I know, that sounds really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about it.)

Single-use batteries are now made of common metals deemed non-hazardous by the federal government and can be disposed of in your regular trash. Prior to 1996, single-use batteries contained mercury and were treated as hazardous waste.

One exception: Watch out … the small, button-shaped batteries found in watches should NEVER be thrown away. They are considered to be hazardous and should be disposed of like a rechargeable battery.

Rechargeable Batteries

One way to cut down on the number of disposable batteries you send to the landfill each year is to buy and use rechargeable batteries, instead. These can be re-used up to 1,000 times before they wear out. But beware, rechargeable batteries pose their own risks and need to be handled differently when it comes time to dispose of them.

In fact, rechargeable batteries are the leading cause of fires at recycling centers and landfills because they are usually not prepared for the process and, instead, just buried in trash or piles of recyclables where they can accidentally spark. Lithium batteries – like those found in flashlights, rechargeable household appliances, computers, etc. – are often the culprits.

Small, sealed lead acid batteries, like those found in battery-powered scooters, remote control cars, etc. contain hazardous chemicals that can harm pets and contaminate land and waterways.

Recycling Batteries

Prepping single-use batteries for recycling:

  • Place a piece of non-conductive clear tape over the ends to prevent any current transfer. You can also bag each battery individually instead of taping the ends.
  • Seal batteries in a plastic bag that doesn’t conduct electricity in case there is a spark.
  • Drop the batteries off at a collection site.

Prepping rechargeable batteries for recycling:

  • Remove batteries from their electronics if possible. (This is not required for small electronics like cellphones or iPods, which can be accepted by the e-waste facility at the Waste Commission’s facility in Davenport.)
  • Cover the terminals with non-conductive tape clear tape.
  • Seal batteries in a plastic bag that doesn’t conduct electricity in case there is a spark.
  • Drop the batteries off at a collection site (preferably the e-waste facility).

The Waste Commission of Scott County has created a simple-to-follow guide to help make it easy for you. Just click on the image to the right and either download it or print it out and save the information in an easy-to-reach place.

Republic Services produces a waste guide for Riverdale residents

Republic Services produces a waste guide for Riverdale residents

Not sure you remember exactly whether the recycling bin needs to be wheeled to the curb this week? Can’t remember when bulky waste pick-up day is? Afraid you’re too late to leave yard waste at the curb for clean up?

Thanks to the City of Riverdale’s waste/recycling service provider, Republic Services, that won’t be a problem any more. They’ve provided a handy guide that will be mailed out to residents over the next week to help remind us what goes in the bin, on the curb and to the street – when it comes to trash and recycling.

You can also download a copy of that guide by clicking here (the guide will open in a new window).

Don’t forget – Monday is the last day yard waste will be picked up this fall!

Don’t forget – Monday is the last day yard waste will be picked up this fall!

Just a reminder to Riverdale residents – Monday morning is the last yard waste pick-up of the year, so get your leaves and other yard waste to the curb Sunday night for an early Monday morning pick-up.

For those of you who just can’t get to the rake this weekend, take note that there are some “experts” out there who claim raking the leaves in your yard is bad for the environment. In fact, naturalists at the National WIldlife Foundation suggest you skip the whole raking-leaves-thing forever.

Alternatives to raking leaves

So, what should you do with the leaves that fall into your yard if you’re not going to bag them up and ship them off to the nearest compost facility? Here are a few suggestions …

  • Let leaves stay where they fall. They won’t hurt your lawn if you chop them with a mulching mower.
  • Rake leaves off the lawn to use as mulch in garden beds. For finer-textured mulch, shred them first.
  • Let leaf piles decompose. The resulting leaf mold can be used as a soil amendment to improve structure and water retention.
  • Combine fallen leaves (“brown material”) with grass clippings and other “green material” and keep moist and well mixed. You’ll have nutrient-rich compost to add to your garden next spring.
  • Still too many leaves? Share them with neighbors, friends, schools and others. Some communities will pick up leaves and make compost to sell or give away.
  • Build a brush shelter. Along with branches, sticks and stems, leaves can be used to make brush piles that shelter native wildlife.

Do these suggestions still sound like too much work? Well, some experts suggest mulching leaves into your lawn instead of raking them may actually make your grass healthier.

Either way, with temps in the 50s tomorrow, it might be your last chance to get some good outdoor time in before the snow flies. Enjoy the weekend!

Yard waste pickup extended through December 9th

Yard waste pickup extended through December 9th

Riverdale’s forecast for Saturday is dry with a high in the low 40s.

Riverdale residents were taken by surprise on Monday, December 1st, when Republic Services picked up bags of leaves and other yard waste. In correspondence held today with Republic, the City was informed yard waste pick-up will occur one more time before ending for the season.

Fortunately for Riverdale residents, the weather forecast for the weekend looks good for both raking leaves, trimming trees and attending the Holiday Lights Celebration at City Hall scheduled for 4pm.

Let’s get this place ready for winter by getting our yards in shape and lights turned on for the holidays!