What do to with downed branches, and how to have them picked up

Adam Troxtell / The Transcript

Branches and parts of a nearby tree damaged during Sunday morning's thunderstorm sit at the edge of residences on Albany Place. A note attached to one of the piles explains why is was not picked up on Monday.

The severe thunderstorm that caused damage across the Oklahoma City metro did noticeable tree damage in Norman.

Residents dealt with everything from small twigs to branches and even hunks of tree trunk in the aftermath of 60-plus-mile-per-hour wind gusts and rain so heavy that visibility was restricted to mere feet Sunday morning. That meant collections of “yard waste,” which is what the city calls it, for sanitation workers starting Monday morning.

Some residents on Albany Place, just east of 12th Avenue SE, received a note from the city about why their debris was not picked up on Monday. The note provided reasons why the debris, which is a collection of sticks, branches and pieces of tree trunk, was not picked up.

First, the collection of branches were not bundled. The city requires this so crews aren’t spending too much time in one place picking up every little piece.

“For our employees, we’re trying to do this as expeditiously as possible,” Ken Komiske, director of utilities, said.

In each bundle, the branches, sticks and twigs need to be no more than four-feet long and no more than two-inches in diameter. The city wants residents to break branches in half or chop them into sizes it deems manageable for staff.

It is not a hard-and-fast rule, Komiske said.

“They don’t have to go out there with a tape measurer,” he said. “We drive up and down with the rear load trucks, so we want something that doesn’t stick out of the side of the truck.

As for width, the city will take tree and branch debris collected and grind it into mulch that is then available for Normanites to use.

“When it starts getting bigger than two inches, the grinder starts having a harder time,” Komiske said. “Just make it reasonable, our guys can pick it up without hurting themselves. If it’s too big and clunky, you need to take it to the transfer station.”

The transfer station is located 3901 Chautauqua Ave., south of Highway 9.

Crews come to pick up yard waste from residents once per week, and it is almost always the next weekday after that neighborhood’s trash day. For example, residents who have trash picked up on Friday would have yard waste picked up on Monday.

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