ST. JOSEPH COUNTY - Leaves are piling up everywhere and for a lot of homeowners the best way to get rid of all that yard waste is to set it on fire.
Well now the county is thinking about banning leaf burning, while at the same time revisiting the idea of providing curb-side leaf pickup service.
In Granger the sights and smells of autumn drift from one house to the next.
Seems like someone on every other block is sending up thick white plumes of smoke, trying to get rid of what Mother Nature left behind.
“I do burn occasionally, but I don't like the smoke and the smells and I’m sure it’s a health concern for people that have allergies,” said Eric Eckert, who was burning leaves in his yard.
While some people welcome that familiar fall ritual, others would rather clear the air.
“I do miss that county leaf pickup,” said Eckert, “I raked the leaves out to the road before they stopped that."
Hold your rake -- the service might be back next year.
The county is starting to talk with landscaping companies, in an effort to find out who might be interested in taking on the task.
They'd be responsible for probably two leaf pickups, starting in October.
On top of that, the county council is considering outlawing leaf burning altogether.
It's already illegal in South Bend and Mishawaka.
The ban would not apply in wide-open rural areas, but rather to places like the Fox Chase subdivision in Granger, where people live a lot closer.
“What we're trying to do is see if we can't move the burn ban along by having the leaf pickup,” said county council member Mike Hamann, “both would be great from an environmental standpoint.”
The county still has a few questions before they restart leaf pickup service.
They’re wondering where they would put the leaves.
Also, would people have to put leaves in bags, or just pile them on the curb? And how will the county monitor leaf collection?
The council plans to keep talking with landscaping companies while it hammers out a plan.