St. Joseph County Indiana
Curbside Leaf Collection Program
St. Joseph County has subsidized a Program that provides all residents an equal opportunity for an affordable program regardless of location. All subscriptions are substantially discounted through the subsidy that provides infrastructure for affordable collection and disposal. This affordable alternative to burning is to promote clean air during the CV19 pandemic and the future. Clean air is more than a quality of life issue. Clean air is a health and life & death issue for residents with CV19. The County Council is debating ways to toughen the Burn Ban and increase penalties to encourage residents to adhere to the Burn Ban. For the 2020 fall season and beyond it is likely that Burn Amnesty will be revoked due to CV19 respiratory concerns.
St. Joseph County has subsidized collection equally for all residents, in all Townships in the unincorporated areas of the county so that all residents can receive up to a complete 5 pass program, by subscription, at a substantially discounted value.
******** SCHEDULED PASSES ********
1st Pass – starts when leaves are falling
2nd Pass – starts no earlier than 1st Monday in November
3rd Pass – starts no earlier than 3rd Monday in November
4th Pass – starts after 3rd Pass completed thru Dec. 18th weather permitting
Spring Pass – begins 3rd Monday in May to collect leaves remaining from winter leaf fall and/or leaves remaining from passes suspended due to weather.
******** PROGRAM COVERAGE ********
******** CRITICAL ******* FIRST DAY OF SCHEDULE ******* CRITICAL *******
In the event of snow in the Accuweather Forecast, neighborhoods/subdivisions will be prioritized by overall annual volume & 2020 program subscribers.
All subscriber locations are not listed. We will do your area when we are in the same zone as the neighborhood / subdivision listed on the Snow Plan List. See Status Map for your Collection Zone and listed subdivisions as reference points.
When the Snow Contingency Plan is in effect all resident leaves must be in the roadway within 5' of the curb or they will not be collected EXCEPT in main arterials and/or where a safety/traffic hazard would exist. Most subdivisions have adequate curbline road width.
If at any time snow enters the Accuweather forecast to accumulate at any depth, Vac crews will redirect all efforts to collecting subdivisions that have been prioritized by the County below.
Subdivisions will be marked In Progress 2-4 days prior to vac crews so that residents can immediately get their leaves to the curb if they are not already there. Leaves that are not at the curbline will not be collected if frozen to the lawn.
If your subdivision is listed on the Snow Priority List by the County, your HOA Board may receive advance collection alerts by
Residents can be notified when we will be in their Area. The County strongly recommends that all residents register for both Alert Platforms as well as Homeowner Association Newsletters/Blogs, etc. to help you receive the most out of the program. Program Service Alert registration is separate for each Platform and separate from Service Registrations. In the future, all registration platforms may be integrated if the County chooses that option. Both Platforms deliver notices to your email address. Future Platforms may offer text alerts if the County budgets that option.
REGISTER HERE - to Receive General Program Alerts Via Email.
GENERAL PROGRAM ALERTS (GPA) - The first Platform provides registrants the ability to sign up by text for General Program Alerts (GPA's) which will be delivered to their emails. These Alerts will include Program details on a regular basis that include reminders regarding all facets of the Program.
REGISTER HERE - to Receive Advance Collection Alerts Via Email.
ADVANCE COLLECTION ALERTS (ACA) - The second Platform will provide 1-5 days prior notice of when vac crews will be in your Township Zone. These are also known as Geo-zone alerts. It is essential when residents register for Advance Collection Alerts, (ACA's) that registrants go to the Status Map and identify their geographic zone location number so they receive the correct ACA's. If you are in a Listed Subdivision, please complete the subdivision field so you will receive Snow Plan ACAs for your Listed Subdivision. Your ACA will be entirely based on your Township Sub-zones & Listed Subdivisions if applicable. When the Snow Plan is in effect, ACAs will notify Listed Subdivisions according to the Priority List established by the County. Please refer to Snow Plan tab for more details.
Alerts are emailed every 3-7 days during active program when new details are available. Please allow a minimum of 7-10 days to receive your first alerts. If you do not receive your first alert within 10 days please contact Customer Service using the Contact Us form.
See the Pass Status Color Key below the Map / Map includes basic Google Map functionality.
You can also see general Schedule Status updates on the Schedule Help tab.
Terrain/Satellite View - click on the desired View in the upper left hand corner.
Full screen view - toggle full screen view by clicking the icon in the upper right hand corner of the map.
Full screen zoom In/Out - performed with scrolling wheel. In standard non full screen mode use control + scroll to map zoom in/out or +/- icons in lower right hand corner.
Move map - Drag by clicking on the left mouse button and holding it down while dragging.
Zoom in on your Township Zone to view current status. All Medium to Very High Volume Subdivisions have a Pin denoting the HOA location.
Click on your HOA pin and you see the following details:
ONLY Medium to High Density Subdivisions are marked with a pin. Low density subdivisions will not be serviced in the event of a snow contingency plan.
All residents should register for ALERTS to know when vac crews are coming through your area.
********CRITICAL******** - FIRST MONDAY - NEVER WAIT, IT WILL BE TOO LATE.......... All leaves must be raked to curbline on the first Monday b4 6am of the scheduled period for collection in that Township. Leaves not at curbline on the first Monday b4 6am of the collection period for that Township will be "passed by" when the vac crews complete your service area. Leaves raked to the Curb after the vacs have passed by will not be collected unless you have a future pass scheduled for your home.
***SNOW CONTINGENCY EXCEPTION*** When the snow contingency plan is in effect all leaves must be in the roadway within 5' of the curb or they will not be collected to prevent lawn damages.
Vacs do not collect leaves on gravel/stone of any size due to equipment damage. Leaf piles from prior seasons will not be collected as compost clogs/damages vacs. See Contaminated Piles Rule below.
DON'T BAG - Do not bag leaves if you would like them collected by the program. They will not be picked up and we will not return.
CONTAMINATED PILES- ONLY Leaves - NO Branches, compost, prior season leaf piles, dirt, mud, tree limbs, grass clippings, gravel, ice, snow, stones, lumber, pine needles, pet feces and trash mixed with leaves will cause the entire leaf pile to be "passed by" and the Vac crews will not return to that pile. Composted Leaf Piles left on the curb from prior season will not be collected.
Residents are solely responsible for disposing of the composted/contaminated pile/s from prior seasons.
Resident curblines must be clear/free of any/all debris other than current season's leaves. Crews document the contaminated pile/s thru digital recording/doorhangers. Scouts note prior season leaf pile addresses so that vac crews skip them until the old composted leaves have been removed. If residents attempt to "hide" last season's leaves under fresh leaves the address will be permanently removed from the collection schedule until SJCR has been notified all old piles/debris have been disposed of and removed. The contact form at www.sjclp.com may be used for notification purposes. NO EXCEPTIONS.
FIVE FEET- All leaves must be within 5' of the road/curbside without going into the street. During snow contingency leaves must be in the road if you are in a subdivision and leaves in road do not present a safety/traffic hazard.
Any Portion of the pile cannot extend more than 5 feet from the curb whether on the lawn or asphalt/road.
Sidewalks - next to the roadway - Leaves must be raked completely onto the sidewalk for collection. The leaves beyond 5' will not be collected.
Vacs are not allowed to leave the roadway due to potential property damage. In cul d'sacs only, leaves may be moved to center of culd'sac making access easier for County to pile snow on curb without burying leaf piles. The following pictures show violations of the 5' rule and disposal of all of the piles were the responsibility of the residents.
"Rake Rule" - An easy method to measure five feet from the curb/asphalt road is to use your rake length. The length of almost all rakes is 5' and provides an easy to use "measuring stick" already in your hands when raking leaves to the road. Scouts/Vac Crews use a pvc measuring T that is 5' to insure piles are safe to collect.
RAKED PILES - All leaves must be raked into piles immediately along the curbline to be collected. Vac crews are not responsible for raking your leaves into a pile for curbline collection. The curbline collection program is not a "lawn raking to the curb" program. All piles must be immediately along curbline to be collected. Leaves that are not raked to the curbline will not be collected. If your leaves get "wind blown", the best practice is to use a tarp to cover pile after raking them to the curbline to keep pile in place. See pictoral examples below of leaves that have not been raked into a pile at curbline and are non-conforming. When any pile is non-conforming the entire pile will be passed by not "missed".
NO BURNING ALLOWED - Smoldering leaves or ashes of any kind are a Fire Hazard and will not be collected at any time and resident will be solely responsible for disposal.
DAMAGE PREVENTION - All leaves must be easily accessible and at least 15' minimum from mailboxes & obstacles to prevent property damage. Leaves must be at least 25' from a parked vehicle to prevent damage to the vehicle. Do not leave trash cans/bags within 15' of leaf piles. Please DO NOT park on or near leaves if you want your pile collected. Crews will not return. In the event you do not have lawn frontage to allow for the required distances you must rake leaves into the road as far from the obstacle/s as possible and within 5' of the curb. IF you live on a cul d' sac / court you may place your leaves in the middle of the cul d'sac without blocking traffic flow around the pile from any direction.
DITCHES- Keep all leaves out of ditches. Vac hoses do not have adequate reach to collect below road grade and crews do not rake piles out of ditches to the road. Crews are not authorized to leave the roadway at any time due to damage/safety rules. You may rake leaves into the road within 5' of the curbline if required to keep leaves out of the ditch and accessible for collection crews.
DOORHANGERS – Pictures & Doorhangers documenting non-conformance/rule violations are forwarded to the County if you report a miss for a non-conforming pile. If you miss that pass due to a rule violation, you will be solely responsible for disposing of the pile. Doorhanger addresses are emailed to Customer Service with pictures/video of the Policy non-conformance/violation.
The non-conforming leaves may be marked with photo-degradable paint to clearly identify the non-conforming leaves to vac crews and for video recording purposes. Doorhangers/associated pictures may be posted online with date/time stamps. The violations are left to right and first row then second row beginning with too close to a mailbox, leaf pile on a stone bed, grass clippings mixed in pile, behind the house & too far off the alley, over the curb, off the sidewalk too far from the street, over 5' from road.
FENCES/WALLS – Do not put leaves inside, on and/or near fences/walls of any type. Resident will be solely responsible for disposal. If you cannot leave at least 10' space from the fence to the pile please rake leaves into the road within 5' of the curbline for your leaves to be collected. This prevents damage to the fence/wall and/or vacs.
STONE / GRAVEL – Any leaves on Stone/Gravel Beds will not be collected. Leaves must be on grass. If your entire curb area is gravel/stone, your leaves are required to be in the road way or they will not be collected. This is an exception to the normal rule only for residents with 100% stone/gravel curb lines. The following pictures show violations of the Stone/Gravel rule and disposal of all of the piles were the responsibility of the residents.
GRASS & PINE NEEDLES - DO NOT mix grass clippings or pine needles mixed with leaves that come from mowing collection systems at curbside. Grass clippings clog vacs, delay service for other residents and are not allowed at disposal sites due to smell when decomposing. Please be considerate of other residents and do not mix grass with leaves which slows service. There are 2 easy solutions to prevent grass clippings in your leaves. Raise mowing deck or use leaf blowers to collect only leaves.
LAWNS - St. Joe County Recycling & St. Joseph County are not responsible for grass/lawn areas that discolor/die due to leaf accumulation. If resident has a major concern for lawn resident should dispose of their own leaves within County guidelines.
EZ way to prevent lawn damage on subdivision roadways (this will not work on main arterial roads) is to rake your leaves into the road within 5' of the curb. This prevents lawn die back and is the easiest surface to remove wet/frozen leaves. Raking into the roadway is required when leaves get wet/frozen/snow covered. If you do not rake your leaves into the roadway during these conditions, vacs will leave a portion of the bottom of the pile that does not collect and you will be responsible for disposal when they thaw out. We do not return for partial piles due to leaving them in the lawn area after they get wet/frozen.
LAWN CURB - Leaf Piles that are not on a residence front lawn within 5' of the curb except as noted herein per the Program Rules, will not be collected. County Program does not include collection on non-resident roadway/shoulders across from resident lawns or wooded lot curb lines without homes. Program will not collect behind homes, in the middle of culdsacs or courts, on islands across from your front/side curb lawn and/or in any area other than the front lawn per rules herein. NO EXCEPTIONS.
NO OUTLET ROADS - Leaf Piles that are not farther than 80' from the end of "No Outlet" roads that do not have cul d sac turnarounds will not be collected. Trucks & Vac rig combined total length do not allow safe collection without backing up the rig on a residential street which is not authorized due to safety considerations.Crews are not authorized to back up the collection rigs for any reason due to safety considerations. In streets where vacs cannot access the leaf pile, the resident must rake the leaf pile to an area that is allowed per program guidelines that safely allows the vac crew to collect without endangering equipment and/or Team.
RESIDENTS ONLY – Program includes ONLY residents per COVERAGE tab & doesn't include Business/Commercial/Government/Non-profit/Parks or any other property. We will provide quotes upon request specific to these property categories.
ROADWAYS – Anytime that leaves are not dry and fluffy they should be raked into the street to preserve your lawn. The exception to this rule is leaves may not be raked onto any streets that are main arterials/roadways that the piles would cause any safety hazard/s.
Thanksgiving is normally a time that if the weather has not yet turned cold and snowy it will change soon. To prepare for the cold weather and protect your lawn you should rake existing piles into the street and keep them as close to the curb as possible and within 5' of the curb.
Wet, frozen, snow covered or compacted piles due to weather conditions are required to be raked into the street within 5' of the curb so that the pile may be collected as cleanly as possible. Vac crews will not return to collect partial piles that are sticking or frozen to the ground.
Cul d'sacs/Courts - Residents cannot rake any leaves into the center of their cul dsac/court. Leaves that are not per th erules herein will not be collected.
Spring piles are all required to be in the roadway for efficient collection and to allow your lawn to begin growing again as soon as possible. By moving your leaf pile to the street you will aerate your lawn surface and promote faster regrowth. By moving the leaf piles to the street you will also remove leaves from your lawn that the vac may not collect.
VILLAS – Villa communities are solely responsible for their own curbside collection. Villa and maintenance free communities are not included in the program. The following Villa Communities are not included: Any/all Villa communities that have lawn care, including but not limited to: Berkshire Villas, Cloverleaf Villas, Country Village, Covington Shores Villas, Farmington Commons, Gumwood Crossing, Knollwood Park Villas, New London Condominiums, Quail Ridge Villas, Sable Ridge Villas, Shamrock Hills, Streamwood Villas, Summer Hill Villas, Tawny Lake Villas, Villas at Lake Blackthorn, Villas at Sandalwood, Wellington Park Villas, Wild Wing Plantation, Woodbridge Condominiums.
WOODED LOTS – All owners with natural wooded lots with less lawn than wooded area will NOT receive collection. It is recommended by the County that composting alternatives be incorporated by the owners.
Answer: All collection vehicles have GPS tracking units installed so that in the event any "miss" is filed online, the Care Center checks our tracking documentation to see if address was truly missed or vacs had already gone by and there were no leaves at the time. We also use video proof of service verification to confirm all GPS trails.
We confirm service verification Four different ways:
If vacs truly missed your residence and it was a conforming pile, vacs will return within 72 hrs. to collect. If vac crews haven't completed your area per the status map please wait to contact us until your area is completed on the status map.
Answer: NO. Mulched & mowed leaves at the curbside present special problems for the vac crews beyond just the issue of grass clippings. Mulching mowers compact the leaves and normally exit the mower collection device in what we call a "brick". They are called "bricks" because due to the compaction and inherent density, these "bricks" will not vac up readily at the curbside without additional labor using special tools to break the "brick" into pieces that will readily flow through the vac without clogging. These "bricks" are sometimes "buried" in the curbside piles and the boom man inadvertently "hits" a "brick" and immediately can clog the machine causing as much as 3-4 man hours lost time, while the crew waits as the vac hose is unclogged. When the conditions turn cold and wet, the damage the "bricks" do to the efficiency of the crew is multiplied one hundred fold as the bricks frequently are very hard to break up into pieces that will vac up without clogging. Please do not include any grass clippings at the curbside with your leaves for collection. If you do you will be "passed by" NOT "missed" and you will be responsible for disposing of your leaf pile. If vac crews pass by due to grass clippings they will document your contaminated pile with a picture and forward the picture to St Joe County Recycling Customer Service and the County.
Answer: St Joe County Recycling will not pick up your leaves in your lawn and bring them to the curbside for immediate collection. This service is available by referral at an additional charge to residents with third party contractors and only after an online agreement is accepted by the customer. If you would like an estimate for Supplemental Fall cleanup, please contact Customer Service through online contact form to be referred to a third party. When residents purchase this service, the activity will be scheduled so that lawn to curb service happens at same time as curb collection pass.
1. QUESTION: When will you be at my house?
ANSWER: See the STATUS MAP. Township /Zone order applies except when the Snow Plan is in effect. We will follow the sequence of the schedule but cannot provide specific days per township due to conditions/weather. When the SNOW PLAN is in effect, priority is based on the SNOW PLAN.
The St. Joseph County Leaf Collection Program includes ONLY the Unincorporated areas of St. Joseph County and includes ONLY residential dwellings and not their associated vacant lots or nearby (across the street) fields/lots. County addresses have 5 digits in unincorporated areas. Incorporated areas are not included. The following is a list of the Incorporated areas of St. Joseph County that ARE NOT included in the Leaf Collection Program.
South Bend Mishawaka Roseland North Liberty Walkerton Lakeville
New Carlisle Osceola Indian Village
The 2020 Program is subsidized by St. Joseph County so residents have an alternative to the Burn Ban
at a very affordable and very Low Cost for the complete solution including up to 5 passes and disposal .
Go to the Subscriber tab for details and registration.
Penalties for Burning during
******** FIRE HAZARDS ********
NO BURNING - No Burning Allowed. Smoldering leaves or ashes of any kind are a Fire Hazard and will not be collected at any time and resident will be solely responsible for disposal.
Residents may only burn leaves in the Spring during County approved amnesty period. Residents who burn leaves outside of the ban will be cited by County Police.
If you choose to burn your leaves, burn them completely because vac crews cannot collect partially burned piles due to safety concerns for Team Members, Equipment and the possibility of Tip and disposal site fires. Hidden embers may start equipment & tip site fires.
This is the front & back of a St. Joseph County Leaf Program Doorhanger.
Further Details - To assist residents in rule compliance to attain maximum collections during passes, Pictures & Doorhangers documenting non-conformance/rule violations are hung on resident doors explaining what is non-conforming and how to change so their leaves can be collected in the future if there are any remaining passes they are eligible to receive. Doorhangers are forwarded to the County so that when residents think they were missed, the County CSR has a record of why they were passed by. Some residents may only receive one pass this year due to County changes. If you miss that pass due to a rule violation, you will be solely responsible for disposing of the pile. Doorhanger addresses are emailed to Customer Service & the County with pictures/video of the Policy non-conformance/violation. The non-conforming leaves may be marked with photo-degradable paint to clearly identify the non-conforming leaves to vac crews and for video recording purposes. Doorhangers/associated pictures are posted online with day/time stamps. The violations are left to right and first row then second row beginning with too close to a mailbox, leaf pile on a stone bed, grass clippings mixed in pile, behind the house & too far off the alley, over the curb, off the sidewalk too far from the street, over 5' from road. Please read the Rules tab for conformance guidelines to insure your leaf pile gets collected. These County rules are the same rules used by the County Highway Department and all municipal leaf collection programs.
Please read the Rules tab for conformance guidelines to insure your leaf pile gets collected. These County rules are the same rules used by the County Highway Department and all municipal leaf collection programs. Once your leaf pile is within guidelines you may register for the next collection pass, if one is available.