Storm Debris Clean Up Begins Monday in Fort Smith
Yards across the River Valley are littered with tree limbs after the recent ice storm, and officials said the city of Fort Smith will help residents clean up debris from their property.
The Fort Smith Department of Sanitation announced its plans to help get rid of debris. Pick up will begin Monday (Dec. 16) and the schedule is based on trash collection.
Normal Day of Trash Collection – Debris Collection Dates:
Monday – December 16, 2013 – January 4, 2014
Tuesday – January 6, 2014 – January 18, 2014
Thursday – January 20, 2014 – February 1, 2014
Friday – February 3, 2014 – February 15, 2014
Baridi Nkokheli, Director of the Department of Sanitation, said his crews will work six days a week until February 15 to collect all the debris. He estimates they’ll collect more than 1,400 tons of debris from this storm.
Tree debris should be placed curbside, away from cars, mailboxes, and utilities like water meters, fire hydrants, and overhead power lines, and should not exceed six feet in length.
The debris will be turned into mulch and sold back to the public, according to Nkokheli.
“Everybody will see all of this material back,” he said. “It’s something they can use in their yards, flower beds and gardens this spring.”
If residents want their tree limbs cleared out sooner than their scheduled collection time, Nkokheli said they may prepare the debris as normal yard waste which will be picked up with their weekly trash.
Since much of the debris is covered in ice, some people say they need help moving the tree branches that have fallen on their property.
Juan Lopez, who runs Lopez Lawn Service, and his cleanup crew are picking up icy debris across the River Valley, limb by limb.
“’It’s indescribable,” said Edward Ellis, whose lawn was littered with branches. “It’s enough to wake you up from your sleep,” he said about the sound of the snapping limbs.
People hiring third-party companies to get the limbs to the curb will have to fork out some cash to get the work done.
“It’s actually driving my wife crazy,” Ellis said. “I’m going to guess it will be probably $250 to $300.”
Lopez said a clean up job may cost a few hundred dollars, and, depending on the size of the tree, may even run into the thousands. He said a clean up project may take a few hours.
Alan Peterson recently moved to Arkansas.
“There are some more neighborhoods that are worse than this,” he said. “I’ve seen some really bad trees come down.”
Peterson said he does not have the cash to hire a cleanup crew, and he doesn’t have the tools to clean up the mess.
“We barely even have any screwdrivers,” Peterson said.
The Highway Department is also working to clean up the aftermath of this winter storm. If you see damaged guard rails, potholes or any other sort of road problems, log on to their new website iDrive Arkansas. Send them a message and let them know so they can get those things fixed as soon as possible.