Residential Leaf Pick-Up Begins Monday, November 27

Image Credit: Doug Hunt, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

(Joplin, MO) – The City of Joplin will start the annual residential leaf pick-up program on November 27, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, weather permitting.

To address all areas of Joplin, the City utilizes two crews that start in outlying areas and work their way toward the center of Joplin. As crews work in opposite areas, they move toward the middle of town to complete the program. To help residents know the general order of neighborhood locations, the City has created a map with neighborhood sections numbered, indicating the order of the crews’ work areas. By using the map, citizens can better prepare for their arrival to pick up their leaves.

The Leaf Pick-Up map is posted on the City’s website. Map areas labeled S1 through S5 are the areas where the Streets crews will be working. Neighborhoods marked P1 through P5 identify the Parks crew’s areas. Crews will move through these areas in sequence, starting November 27. Due to the uncertainty of leaf amounts on streets, weather, and unforeseen conditions, it is difficult to predict the exact timing of arrival to the areas.

The first neighborhoods that Streets crews will be working in are the Silver Creek, Highlands, and Woodland Hills areas (S1). They will then complete leaf pick-up in neighborhoods east of Range Line Road. After that area is done, they will move to the north end of Joplin (S2) and begin moving toward the center.

The Parks crew begins south of 32nd Street and west of Main Street (P1) and will then move east towards Range Line Road (P2). Crews will progress through these sections until all of the City has been canvassed. Weather permitting, this collection could take at least one month or longer.

Residents are reminded not to bag their leaves but rather rake them to the curb of the property line. Leaves should NOT be raked into the street, as this can clog storm drains, and could cause the City’s street sweeping truck to bypass that area. No tree limbs, brush or rocks should be included in the piles, please. Please do not place leaf piles over water meters (manhole covers).  Doing so may cause Missouri-American Water to estimate your water usage, instead of recording the exact amount for billing purposes.

The City picks up the leaves so that they will not congregate around the storm drains which can cause flooding.  Also, during heavy rains, storm drains receive an above-average amount of pesticides, soil, fertilizer runoff, trash, pet waste, and leaves, which are then deposited in the nearest storm channel.  These channels are designed to eventually flow into Joplin’s Shoal Creek and Turkey Creek.  These pollutants can harm recreational activities, wildlife habitats, and drinking water sources.  Soil runoff and leaves cause the water to become murky, which blocks sunlight and decreases plant growth.  Plants are food sources for insects, worms, crayfish, and other animals that support fish populations.

For residents who wish to dispose of leaves now, bring them to the Joplin Compost Facility next to the Turkey Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at 3457 Eddy Lane, which is west of the intersection of Eddy and North Peace Church Avenue.  Please remove leaves from trash bags and take trash bags with you.  No brush, tree limbs, bags, or trash, please. The site is open daily during daylight hours.

An alternative to leaf disposal is home composting.  To create compost, simply put leaves, grass, and meat-free kitchen scraps in your compost bin. Keep it moist, stir the mixture to speed up the decomposition process, and then harvest the finished compost from the bottom of the bin.  Finished compost should be available in approximately two seasons and produces a free organic fertilizer.

In order to reduce stormwater pollution, the City encourages the use of compost instead of non-organic fertilizers and chemicals on lawns and gardens.  Compost can be tilled into the soil thus making the plants healthy and less susceptible to diseases and insects, which reduces the need for chemicals.  Runoff of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides can harm our water bodies.

The easiest alternative to leaf disposal is to rake the leaves onto the lawn and run over them with a mulching lawnmower!

Not-so-earth-friendly alternatives for leaf disposal include setting out bagged leaves for the regular Joplin weekly residential trash service or burning the leaves.  To burn, citizens need to obtain a Burn Permit from any of the Fire Stations in the City or at the City’s Finance Department at City Hall. The permit costs $10 and is good for three consecutive days. The Permits are available at Fire Station #1, 303 East 3rd Street, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days per week. Please note there may be times when firefighters are not at the station to issue permits due to the nature of their job. Fire Stations will only be able to accept payment by check or money order. No matter where the permit is obtained, residents must still inquire with the Joplin Fire Department about weather conditions and if burning is allowed on each day. Residents can also obtain this information by calling 417.623.0403.

The Finance Department, located on the third floor of City Hall, 602 South Main, is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The City Hall location will accept cash, check, debit, money order, or credit card payments for burn permits.  Please note that City Hall will be closed on November 23 and 24 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

For more information about leaf pick-up call 417.624.0820, ext. 1566.  For more information about burn permits and rules, contact the Joplin Fire Department at 417.623.0403 or visit


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204

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