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Progress being made as cleanup continues from derecho

Progress being made as cleanup continues from derecho


Progress is being made.

Tree debris from the Aug. 10 derecho is steadily being removed from public and private property, with Bettendorf 100% finished with its first swipe and hoping to complete the second go-round by Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Rock Island is about 25% finished, Moline is at about 20% and East Moline is at about 95%, according to officials in each city.

Davenport is about 50% finished, time-wise, Nicole Gleason, public works director, said in an email. "Some of the debris that took us longer to cut up etc. is done, but there are still a lot of branches out there. We are still hoping to be done by Friday, Oct. 2. 

"We plan to drive all of the zones next week to gauge what is left. We are running 10-hour shifts Monday-Friday and the weekends are voluntary for the holiday weekend. We will re-assess for the weekends after the holiday," she said.

As cleanup continues, storm debris and wood chip piles are being staged in various parks across the city, prompting calls from residents wondering whether they can add their debris to the piles and if they can take some of the mulch.

The answer to both questions is no.

First, the city has to account for all of the material collected and processed to support a request for reimbursement under FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) guidelines, according to a news release.

Only the Compost Facility at 2707 Railroad Ave. is available for yard waste and tree debris drop-off.

Second, material from wood chip (mulch) piles is not suitable for use in landscaping, the news release states. "Plastics, weed spores/seeds, and the chip size make this material a poor choice that may ultimately do more harm than help."

Here is a closer look at cleanup, city-by-city.

Davenport: Public works is urging residents to help speed pickup by cutting and bundling tree debris into manageable piles. Branches should be no longer than five feet and weigh no more than 50 pounds if possible.

As for when the staging areas will be cleared, "most of our workforce is focused on removing citizen storm debris," the news release states. "It may take us some time to remove all of the material from all of our staging areas."

Crews will continue working through in-progress zones through early next week. Updates on the "second pass" will be made after Labor Day.

Residents also are reminded that yard waste stickers are now required on paper bags. Yard waste cart fees and regular yard waste disposal fees at the Compost Facility also apply.

Bettendorf: Crews were to have picked up about 10,000 cubic yards of debris by the end of Thursday, with about 4,000 cubic yards remaining, Brian Schmidt, public works director, said.

Crews should be through the city for the second time by Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Residents will need to put stickers on their yard waste bags beginning Sept. 14.

Rock Island:  As of last week, the city had collected more than 300 tons of debris, and has an additional 1,000 tons of material left to collect, Mike Bartels, public works director, estimated Thursday.

He said he hopes pickup will be "be finished towards the first part of October," although that is subject to revision.

Yard waste bags with storm debris will continue to be picked up for free as long as storm pickup continues.

The city is making only one pass for storm debris; if residents need additional collection, they should call public works at 309-732-2200 for a free special pickup.

The city has a total of 10-12 employees working on storm debris collection every week, Bartels said. That includes a minimum of three crews working each day, along with another crew that is addressing hanging branches and safety concerns.

"The first week of the storm public works worked overtime to remove trees from blocking streets and to address immediate safety concerns," Bartels said in an email. "We are trying to control overtime to keep costs at a minimum due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the city's budget before the storm."

Moline: Crews have completed clearing debris from sidewalks and boulevards along high traffic routes to ensure the safety of students walking to school with classes now in session, according to a news release from the city.

Crews now are working from west to east through the city to pick up debris at curbs or in alleys and are about 20% finished with that, Rodd Schick, municipal services general manager, said.

"We will be working at least 10-hour days Monday-Friday and at least six hours on Saturdays," Schick said in a email.  "I anticipate completion in 5-6 weeks."

Beginning Friday, regular yard waste collection rules and guidelines will apply, meaning any new yard waste or branches will need to be in lawn waste bags with a sticker.

In addition, branches will need to be tied in bundles no more than 12 inches in diameter and limbs will need to be no more than four inches in diameter and four feet in length.

Residents who don't want to bundle can make arrangements through the city finance department to have branches picked up for $140.

East Moline: Crews are about 95% finished picking up all the storm debris, Todd Stickler, assistant director of maintenance services, said.

"We had three crews out for 2½ weeks picking up storm debris and now have very little left to do," he said in an email. "Some residents are still bringing stuff out to the curb and are calling in to the office for a pickup as needed."


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The storm that slammed the Quad-Cities on Monday was unusual in that "the winds went on for as long as 45 minutes," Ray Wolf, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Davenport, said.

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