Towns Struggling to Clean Debris From Irene
Public works departments ask residents to be patient with brush cleanup.
Though Irene struck Bristol and Warren more than two weeks ago, public works employees are still struggling to pick up the mess.
“Let me tell you, we are overwhelmed,” said Judy Fardig of the Warren Department of Public Works. “We have our chippers, backhoes and trucks out, but there’s just so much of it.”
Irene’s high winds and torrential downpours knocked down power lines, trees and limbs on Sunday, Aug. 28, but DPW officials say there has been too much brush to catch up.
“There’s just so much of it,” Fardig said. “You pick some up and go down the street and there’s so much more.”
Fardig said one problem is that residents who know DPW is coming to pick up the brush are now cutting down trees to get rid of them. Fardig asks that residents remain patient while crews make their rounds to collect the brush.
“We’re a small crew,” Fardig said. “We only have about eight guys that go out on the road on a good day, so it has taken us a while.”
In Bristol, the public works department and DaPonte’s Landscaping trucks are still out chopping up brush as well.
“We’re only about halfway done,” said Essye Lawrence of the Bristol Department of Public Works.
Lawrence says the department has a chipper going around and they are expecting to get the bulk of it and do one more round to make sure they got everything. Some DPW employees have even been asked to work overtime to keep up with brush clean up and their regular duties, including trash and recycling pick-up as well as pothole problems.
“We’re asking residents to just leave [the brush] there and be patient,” she said. “They are taking care of it as fast as they can.”