FAIRMONT - The leaves are really piling up this year.
Fairmont city crews are working their way through town, vacuuming and scooping up leaves as fast as they can, but they're still falling behind.
This is the second week of Fairmont's leaf pickup program, in which residents can rake their leaves to the curb for city workers to haul away.
CLEANUP?— Laurie Doyle blows leaves to the curb Wednesday as Fairmont city workers use a front-end loader to scoop them up and haul them away.
The town is divided into three sections, with workers spending a week on each section as they start from the north end and make their way south.
"We're behind, so we've added a third crew," said City Administrator Jim Zarling. "... Because of the quantity of leaves, we're working feverishly to try to get caught up."
Fairmont owns one leaf vacuum, which it purchased two years ago. The machinery requires three employees to run it, but with the amount of leaves out there to pick up, the vacuum simply can't keep up. And the two extra crews - each consisting of three to four workers using skid loaders to scoop up leaves and dump them into city trucks - are struggling to make headway.
In the meantime, Zarling asked residents to please be patient: "We're doing the best we can with what we have."
Residents are still asked to stay with the schedule, bringing their leaves to the curb over the weekend, before city employees are slated to work on that part of town. Once workers have gone through an area, they won't be back until a second rotation begins.
Another option for residents who don't want to wait for the crews is to fall back on the previous system, before the city provided the curbside pickup. A leaf compost site and tree dump are located west of Fairmont on a gravel road past where Lair Road ends.
"We'd love to have them haul out to the compost site," Zarling said. "That's open year round and is open to anybody. That's what I do with mine."
Burn permits are also available at City Hall free of charge.