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Debris Piles At Drop Off Sites Are Growing

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As the stacks of tree branches are cleared away from streets around Sioux Falls, it’s all getting piled up somewhere else. And that’s at tree drop off sites around the city. And as we found out today, some of those piles are over two stories high.

Land that was once used for storage, and to collect leaves in the fall now has an entirely different use. Giant piles of tree debris have formed, and with cleanup only in the initial stages, the piles are going to get even larger.

“These sites were flat and had no branches on them two weeks ago. This was just a flat site for material storage,” said Trent Lubbers, Branch Drop Off Site Manager.

But it sure doesn’t look flat anymore. Lubbers said the site off of East Chambers Street, by the City Street Department has been one of the busiest. And the piles show it.
“It's probably the size of one to two football fields,” said Lubbers.

These piles are over 35 feet high, and Lubbers said that’s only half of what they would be, if they weren’t compacting them.
“These piles would be 60 to 70 feet tall, but we actually have a bulldozer that runs on top of them to pack them down,” Lubbers said.

Truck, after truck, arrives loaded with debris. It gets dropped off and all the new branches are pushed to the top. And with a new contractor in town, the traffic at the site is only going to pick up.

“And our contractor that started this week, Ceres, are getting all their loads scaled as they come in,” said Lubbers.

And their trucks alone are pretty massive. They are big enough to hold 90 washing machines, so you can imagine how many logs they can handle.

“Roughly it could be approximately 12 tons (per load),” said David Preus, Project Manager for Ceres Environmental Services.

The city has contracted the company out to help with the cleanup, and they use what they call ‘self-loading knuckle booms.’

“It’s a boom in the back, and behind that is a trailer. So it is able to come up to a pile of debris, station itself and then load itself,” said Preus.

Then it’s off to the drop off site. And Preus said their 32 trucks will hopefully make 150 trips each day. So these already towering piles are only going to grow.

“Space, we have to make sure we have to have enough space for these trees. But we've got a good operation going,” said Lubbers.

Lubbers would like to remind residents of other sites available to drop off their tree debris. He said the site off of 69th Street and Cliff Avenue is under used, so he suggests residents take advantage of that site.

City leaders want to again remind residents to be careful around trucks carrying debris and removing their own branches. So far no one has gotten hurt at any of the drop off sites and they hope to keep it that way.      

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