By Brenda Maguire
The most common question heard this week in much of the state is, “When will power be returned to my home?”
But running a close second, and the question expected to continue being heard for days to come, is, “How do I get rid of the branches in my yard?”
Bristol Public Works and the town of Wethersfield are running curbside pickups with the help of contractors. The town of Southington met with contractors Thursday morning and is waiting to get approval on a partnership. Southington is asking for debris to be put curbside.
Newington is also urging homeowners to put debris curbside, in hopes that cleanup will be completed by Thanksgiving.
Rocky Hill does not have a start date for debris pickup but is asking residents to put yard waste curbside. The town of Plainville is still evaluating how it will run a cleanup in conjunction with leaf pickup.
New Britain’s first priority is to get the roads cleared of branches and debris, which should be completed within the next few days, officials said.
“I’m hopeful that it (will be) end of the day Saturday,” said Mark Moriarty, director of New Britain Public Works.
From there, New Britain will need to assess the damage and figure out how it will remove vast numbers of trees, branches and other debris.
“We’re going to have to see if we need to bring on a contractor while we pick up leaves,” Moriarty said. This time of year is already the busiest for Public Works because of the falling leaves.
Berlin’s Public Works will be waiting about two weeks to begin the curbside pickup so that the town can first take care of getting power back and removing debris from the roads.
“It gives people time to get things cleared up,” added Arthur Simonian, Public Works director.
The wood from fallen trees will not be available for firewood this year; however, it can be expected that there will be plenty of firewood to go around next year.
“It’s got to season for a year or two,” explained Sylvie Bisson of Lachance Tree Service in Bristol.
Garry Brumback, town manager of Southington, said it would be difficult for the town to keep the debris for firewood because much of it would be contaminated and it would be too much work to sort through it.
Southington, Bristol, Berlin and Rocky Hill all plan to have any wood collected this week or next to be chipped. The wood chips will be used in various places in each respective town, including parks and gardens.
The Arbor Day Foundation is urging homeowners to assess damage and provide proper care to keep their trees alive and well.
“The urge to do something immediately is strong, but people should try to be patient. As long as there isn’t an immediate physical risk from a damaged tree, many times it’s best to keep the tree for now and determine the course of action later,” John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, said in a news release.
The foundation said a tree can generally survive if it has at least half of its branches and leaves. For more information on tree care following storms, visit http://www.arborday.org.
Debris Drop-off locations:
Yard debris can be dropped off at the following sites:
Osgood Park, A.W. Stanley Park, Martha Hart Park or Chesley Park in New Britain, free of cost.
The landfill on Main Street in Newington will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All residents can use the landfill by presenting proof of residency.
The transfer station at 685 Lake Ave. in Bristol will be extending its hours from 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m Sunday for people who need to drop off brush or branches. The station will also be open from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday of next week.
The Plainville transfer station on Granger Lane will be open today from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for dropoffs free of charge.
Plymouth’s brush dump on Tunnel Road will have extended hours today from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for residents.
The Bulky Waste Transfer Station in Southington will be open today and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for brush only.