Looking to be limbless

by Town Reminder

Looking to be limbless
DPW assures residents of debris removal

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer, kwill@turley.com

SOUTH HADLEY – There’s no need for residents to go out on a limb in order to clear away debris left from October’s nor’easter. Slow but sure, the Department of Public Works [DPW] will take care of what’s left in its wake.
Worried about what to do with large limbs, trunks and piles of debris from both private and town trees, residents have inundated the DPW with anxious calls. Twice, the department has made phone calls to residents informing them of removal plans.
Since the storm on Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, the DPW, with help from the water and fire districts, pushed brush having fallen in the roadways to the side and trimmed hazardous branches. Beginning Nov. 2, crews have gone around town chipping and removing piled debris.
Thus far, Reidy estimates the town has spent $150,000 in regard to clean-up services including snow and debris removal. He is aiming to have the total cost come in under $300,000. FEMA will reimburse the town 75 percent of its clean-up cost, leaving South Hadley to pay roughly $75,000. “That to me is unbelievable,” said Reidy, who earlier stated during Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting surrounding towns have been spending in the millions for removal. “I think we’ve got the right response to this,” he said.
In addition to the already-contracted Northern Tree Service, three other landscaping companies have been scouring about town. Two chippers were rented, and SHELD, along with Northern, have lent the use of their bucket trucks for trimming branches. Northern is providing use of their log truck with a grapple arm attachment when it can. In addition to the town’s Bobcat and backhoe, a second Bobcat with a grapple arm was rented. The DPW purchased a grapple attachment for their own Bobcat machine, which makes quick work of picking up large bundles of branches, rather than tossing them into a chipping machine.
The town’s compost area has been open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. since Nov. 2. Greencycle will stop by the area in the near future to grind the monstrous debris piles in order to make room for the seemingly endless supply.
Residents can choose from three steps to take with removal of their branches and debris. Firstly, Reidy emphasizes the DPW will indeed stop by each and every home to remove the yard waste should residents have no ability to bring their piles to the compost area. Any branches for removal in this manner should be carefully piled on the edge of residential property. But because the entire town was affected, DPW arrival will not be immediate. Although, the DPW cannot guarantee it will makes all rounds before the snow falls once more. Should this happen, the remaining brush would be picked up in the spring.
Secondly, residents are able to bring their debris to the compost area every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Nov. 23. This option is highly encouraged by Reidy.
Lastly, the curbside yard waste collection by Allied Waste will begin its autumn collection Nov. 14 through Dec. 9 following the next two trash collection schedules. Brush and leaves must be in either paper leaf bags or open containers. Bundles of branches must be no more than four feet long and two feet wide. Branches larger than two inches in diameter will not be collected.
Regardless if the debris fell from private or town trees, Reidy said, “We’re going to pick it all up.”
FEMA has extended the town’s clean-up time for which it will reimburse efforts to a six-month period. Reidy said the department is aiming to have everything cleaned up by Dec. 16, weather permitting.