Cedar Falls Maintenance Worker, Kathy Gaede, has a history of helping make Cedar Falls a beautiful place to call home.
Formerly Kathy was a permanent part-time employee with the Parks Section and worked with the city arborist team; Kathy currently is assigned to the City’s Refuse Section and performs various job duties such as automated refuse collection of solid waste and yard waste, recycling center duties, and transfer station duties as well. On Monday’s, the City performs automated yard waste collection. With autumn in full swing, her job is more important than ever.
“This time of year is definitely busy,” said Kathy. “With so many leaves and people clearing their yards, the bags can get very heavy, especially with all the rain we’ve had.”
During her typical route, Kathy operates the truck which has cameras to help identify any potential issues which can cause problems for the city and its residents. “The cameras allow us to see the bags as they are being dumped,” Kathy said. “The yard carts are usually quite a bit heavier than garbage carts. If, by some chance, a cart slips out of the grippers, it is difficult to pull them out. We have to stop everything, get out, and make a note of the cart that was damaged and turn it in to the office so a replacement cart can be brought out. It can take up quite a bit of time.”
“It’s important to understand the rules about what to put in a yard waste receptacle. People may think as long as it’s hauled away, then that’s that,” Kathy said. “However, that’s not the case. We’ve found appliances in yard waste containers before, garbage, and more. Loose grass and leaves, as well, can cause a lot of issues. It’s so light that when we dump it, it can scatter everywhere. If people don’t have their lids all the way down, birds can make a nest in the containers and it creates a mess.”
Residents should also bag their garbage instead of placing them in the garbage container where it may blow out when it is in the process of being dumped.
In order to avoid these problems, it’s important for all residents to place their yard waste in the cart and put it out by 7:00 a.m. on Monday’s. Potted plants that are being thrown away as well need to be removed from any plastic containers. Dirt and sod are not allowed to be in the yard waste container. The receptacles are also not able to handle logs that are more than 4 inches, which can get wedged. Cedar Falls Public Works also advises individuals to ensure their receptacles are 3 to 4 feet away from mailboxes, cars, and any other obstacles.
Although it can be a busy job, Kathy enjoys the chance to connect with the Cedar Falls community, especially the littlest members.
“Recently we went to one of the preschools here and the students were able to see the truck,” Kathy said. “It was really fun. The parents that were there too had a lot of questions and they were really great to speak too. Those kinds of interactions are wonderful.”
Click here to learn more about yard and garbage collection in Cedar Falls or call Cedar Falls Public Works at (319) 273-8629.