Cleaning up after the storm

Debris Clean Up

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ALBERT LEA, MN — Now that we have all had about two days to stop and stare at the rare May snowfall, some in southern Minnesota are busy cleaning it all up.

The pile of brush sitting at the Blazing Star Landing in Albert Lea is some of what was left in the wake of what we are calling “Snow MAYhem 2013.” It is all there thanks to a little incentive from the city of Albert Lea.

Like many Albert Lea residents, Ted Anderson could not believe what he woke up to Thursday.

“Looked out and I was shocked and saw that my tree out here was snapped off and some back here so I had four or five trees that got damaged,” Anderson said.

His backyard is not the only one that needs to be cleaned up.

“My neighbor had the same problem so we’ll probably get together and saw the stuff up,” Anderson said.

He did not know what his plans were with the wood after that, but he had a pretty good idea.

The city of Albert Lea will be accepting brush and tree debris from city residents for free, which he thought was a pretty good deal.

“A level full pickup load is probably ten or fifteen dollars and most residents have some sort of clean up to complete so it would be a help to them,” said Philip Wacholz, a Civil/Environmental Engineer for Albert Lea.

This is not something the city does very often, but this snow event is so widespread that they will be taking debris at the normal drop off at the city’s transfer station and the Blazing Star Landing.

“When we have a city wide situation where, certainly on almost every block there’s clean up that’s needed, the city can get rid of this material safely and effectively for reasonably low cost, doing it in bulk,” Wacholz said.

The last time the city did something like this was during the tornado of 2010. They said shouldering the cost so that their residents can get rid of it safely is fine with them.

“If we had all of these people trying to do controlled burns on their property, then we’d have issues with public safety and smoking out neighborhoods and things like that,” Wacholz said.

Anderson is one of many Albert Lea residents that will be taking advantage of the savings.

“I think it’s a good idea to have the city come around because there’s so much of it, so much damage around town,” Anderson said.

City leaders remind us that this free event is only for brush and tree debris. They do not want trash and demolition material to be disposed of at the Blazing Star Landing.

They said if they see it they will have to close the site and begin to charge for all of it.

It will be going on until Sunday, May 12.

The transfer station hours are:

Monday & Wednesday 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday & Friday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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