City crews prepare vehicles for fall, winter

Similar to area residents using September warm spells to prepare for the change of the seasons, Wapakoneta city crews have been working on getting equipment and trucks ready for leaf pick-up this fall and snow removal this winter.
After Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting, Wapakoneta Safety-Service Director Bill Rains said his crews are “ready to roll.”
“The leaf loader is getting its annual maintenance prior to the fall season as we speak and we are getting some of the jobs from the summer caught up so we don’t have those outstanding,” Rains told the Wapakoneta Daily News after giving his report to council. “The street sweeper was down for a little while, but it has been beefed up a little bit, repaired and back on the road. I think we are as ready as we are going to get for the fall.”
When the leaves fall from the trees and residents start raking them to the street, he asked for residents to rake the leaves to tree lawn if possible and not into the street where they can become a road hazard for vehicles. He anticipates sending out the leaf collection crews prior to Thanksgiving and for collection to continue until “we can’t pick up the leaves anymore.”
Rains also said the compost facility is open during the week and on Saturday, through the Saturday after Thanksgiving, for people to take leaves and yard waste. Thanksgiving is Nov. 24 this year.
The safety-service director also said city workers are readying the snow plow trucks and a tanker for snow removal this winter.
“Our new spreaders are due in even as we speak and we are getting ready to put the spreaders on the salt trucks and set up with the electronics so they are putting out the right amount of salt,” Rains said. “Public Works Superintendent Meril Simpson and his crew have designed and developed a diffuser for the back of the water truck to apply brine on city streets prior to a snow event.”
Rains and Simpson also talked with Ted Hemleben, who is in charge of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) crew in Auglaize County about the proper application of brine and when are the best times to apply the brine to the streets. ODOT crews have been applying brine for several years.
“We want to gain a little insight on the process and speed up the learning curve by talking to a group who does this all the time,” Rains said. “We are relying on the state’s expertise instead of going through a trial-and-error process.”
Public Works Department crews are readying the city’s seven snowplows and two other pieces of snow-removal equipment. Last winter season, crews applied 517 tons of grit, a mixture of salt and ground limestone. The mix, which is one part salt to two parts ground limestone, is stored at the Auglaize County Engineer’s Office garage and bins.
Another change is the city plans to abandon using grit and will apply only pure salt.
“We hope this pre-treatment will work well enough that we will not have to put down as much salt or we won’t have to apply as often,” Rains said, noting they also intend to attack snow events in a different manner with crews out prior, during and after events instead of primarily after a snow. “This year will be a learning year for us and we are certainly looking forward to clearing the streets and learning a lot.”