Raking leaves

Yard waste drop-off and brush collection in Cottage Grove, McFarland, and Monona has officially begun.

Yard waste drop-off and brush collection in Cottage Grove, McFarland, and Monona has officially begun.

Village of Cottage Grove

Beginning April 5, compost, leaves, and grass clippings can be taken to the former Public Works Building at 225 Bonnie Road in Cottage Grove. Brush will not be accepted at this drop-off site.

Village of Cottage Grove residents will need to have their brush ready for pick-up by 6 a.m. on Monday of each collection week, which will occur monthly from April through November. The pick-up dates are as follows: April 5, May 3, June 7, July 6, Aug. 2, Sept. 7, Oct. 4, and Nov. 1. Christmas tree pick-up will commence on Jan. 10, 2022.

If brush is not put curbside by 6 a.m. on pick-up day, public works staff will not be returning to pick it up later.

The maximum brush allowed for village residents is two piles reaching four feet wide by four feet high by 10 feet long. Those with piles exceeding these parameters will not be included in brush pick-up and will be personally responsible for removal.

No compost, root balls, barrels, lumber, furniture, bags, boxes, or metal will be eligible for pick-up with brush. Tree limbs cannot exceed eight inches in diameter, and brush will need to be stacked. Unstacked brush will not be picked up.

Residents can read the village’s full brush collection policy under the Public Works/Utilities tab on the village’s website.

Town of Cottage Grove

According to Daniel Dresen, highway superintendent with the town of Cottage Grove Public Works department, the town will not be conducting brush or yard waste pick-up.

Residents are allowed to conduct controlled burns for brush and other yard waste, though Dresen said he advises residents to stay safe and contact the fire department should any issues arise.

Dresen also said the town is looking into the idea of instituting a compost site, but the project is still in the beginning stages and does not yet have a set timeline.

McFarland

Brush and yard waste can be dropped off in McFarland at the public works facility on Terminal Drive. The site opened March 19 and will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of the winter months, at which point the facility will close.

To conserve space, village officials are asking residents to place materials as close to the back wall as possible. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are also asked to social distance while using the site.

Brush larger than three inches in diameter and 10 feet in length will not be accepted, and neither will appliances, root ball, concrete, dirt, lumber, metal, rocks, sod, or stumps.

For a fee, curbside pickup of yard waste is available in McFarland. A non-expiring $2 sticker will need to be attached to each yard waste bag intended for curbside pick-up. Bags can weigh up to 50 gallons and are available at the McFarland Municipal Center.

Collection services will accept leaves, garden waste, thatch, grass clippings, non-woody plant materials, and evergreen clippings no more than six inches in diameter. Spring collection will occur the week of April 26, and again in the fall on Nov. 15.

For those who would like brush to be picked up from their home, residents should place brush curbside by 6 a.m. on Monday of collection week, which will be April 19 for zone one, April 26 for zone two, and May 3 for zone three.

The fall schedule will be Oct. 25 for zone one, Nov. 1 for zone two and Nov. 8 for zone three.

Brush will need to be no longer than 10 feet, no less than six inches long, and no larger than six inches in diameter.

A brush clipping zone map can be located on the village’s website.

Monona

The city’s no-cost yard waste drop-off site opened for the season on March 20, and will remain open until late fall. Located at the Public Works Garage on Edna Taylor Parkway, residents can use the site to dump leaves, grass clippings, and garden waste.

Monona Public Works Operation Supervisor Jeff Johnson said the site will be available to residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be completely self-service, and social distancing protocols will need to be followed when more than one person is utilizing the drop-off station, though Johnson said the spacing of the site makes it easy to stay distanced.

“We have been asking for people to socially distance while dropping off,” said Johnson. “Based on the size and set up, people naturally are here a short time and generally spaced apart.”

Brush will not be an accepted drop-off item, and will need to be disposed of through the city’s brush collection system. Johnson said the city is operating under space constraints, and brush could fill the bins too quickly if dropped off with other yard waste.

“We do not accept brush due to the limited space,” Johnson said. “Brush stacked in the containers would fill up very quickly.”

The city will be picking up brush from residential curbsides according to district. Monona residents will need to have brush ready for pickup by 7 a.m. on Monday of their scheduled pick up week, which are as follows:

District one: April 5, June 7, August 2, October 4. District two: April 12, June 14, August 9, October 11. District thee: April 19, June 21, August 16, October 18. District four: April 26, June 28, August 23, October 25.

A map of the districts can be located on the city’s website.

Brush piles exceeding four feet by four feet by 10 feet will not be picked up, according to Barnes, Inc., the company the city has contracted with to collect the brush. For those who cannot meet these requirements or have brush to dispose of outside of a pick-up week, brush can be taken to the Dane County Landfill for a disposal fee of $10.

While brush is excluded from the yard waste drop-off site, leaves can either be dropped off at the site with other yard waste or left at the curb for the city to pick-up.

Unlike brush, leaf pick-up is not separated by district. Throughout the month of April, vacuum trucks will be circling Monona neighborhoods and collecting leaf piles as they see them.

Nancy Moore, a Monona city councilor and chair of the Monona Sustainability Committee, said proper leaf disposal will be vital this year in ensuring clean water throughout local communities. For those with extra leafy yards, Moore suggests taking them to the drop-off site in lieu of waiting for the city to vacuum them up.

“Oftentimes people have more leaves than the trucks can pick up, so this is another way for residents to help out by taking the leaves off their yards at a schedule that works best for them, which helps our sustainability efforts in two ways,” said Moore. “All of that yard waste gets composted, and secondly, keeping the leaves out of our storm drains dramatically improves our storm water quality and the amount of phosphorus that gets into our lakes, which is primarily why our lakes are so polluted.”

Once the leaves enter a storm drain, the water breaks them down and causes a release of phosphorus, which ultimately causes the production of algae blooms in the county’s waterways. Algae blooms are nearly impossible to get rid of, Moore said.

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