By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Crews with the San Joaquin County Public Works department are working around the community to make sure the expected rain won’t cause a problem in neighborhoods by picking up leaves and moving them far away from storm drains and gutters.

Homeowner Jose Luis Garcia is preparing for the heavy rain and strong winds expected over the next few days.

“We clean up everything, we cover everything,” he said.

Garcia is making sure there are no branches, trash bags or other debris mixed in with his pile of leaves. Otherwise, road maintenance says it won’t get picked up.

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“Make sure they are at least a foot from the curb. Don’t put any brush, any pet droppings or any other type of debris in the pile,” said Troy Botts, Road Maintenance Superintendent with San Joaquin County.

The first major rain of the season has road crews from the San Joaquin County Public Works department raking up leaves earlier than expected.  They want to avoid flooding as much as possible.

“The crews go out into designated areas by date and are picking up by hand and moving them into trucks,” he said.

The crew has already picked up about a ton of leaves. They say the rain and wind will probably knock down even more, keeping them extremely busy.

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“A lot of our flooding will be caused by leaves on the drains so the more leaves we can keep off the drains, the less chance of flooding,” said Troy Hedrick, Maintenance Manager at San Joaquin County.

The focus now is minimizing drainage and safety concerns created by leaves that block storm drains. Workers want to make sure leaves don’t enter the drainage system and nearby waterways.

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“It’s an old system, you know you get Lincoln village and the country club area, it’s just a little older system its got to get to the pumps. We’ve done a good job, we’ve replaced a lot of the pumps so they kick on a little better. It drains as fast as it could drain,” said Hedrick.

San Joaquin County has a leaf pick up schedule posted on its website to help homeowners know when crews will be in their neighborhood.

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