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State grant approved for Latrobe leaf vacuum, skid loader

November 12, 2018

Latrobe’s public works crew will be turning new leaves, in a new way, next year.

The city will buy a leaf vacuum and a skid loader to help workers gather leaves and convert them into compost.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has approved a $95,843 recycling grant to be used to buy the equipment, said Michael Gray, public works director. The equipment should be ready to use next year, he said.

“It will be the first time we’ll go around town and collect all the leaves,” Gray said. “We’ll compost and recycle them and give them back to the community.”

He explained the vacuum cannot reach down into storm drains to suck up leaves, but it will be able to clear “anything that’s above-ground.”

The skid loader will be used to turn the piles of leaves collected at the city’s solid waste transfer station, promoting decomposition into compost, Gray said. It will replace a backhoe that also is used for other tasks.

Having dedicated equipment for the compost operation will be an improvement, Gray said.

Leaf compost is available to residents at the Mission Road transfer station this season.

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