As the lights slowly start coming back on, gas begins flowing and normalcy returns one of the questions cropping up is: what are we going to do with all this debris?
Even the roads that have been opened in Mendham and Chester are still lined with brush, chopped up tree limbs and more lumber than any official can remember seeing at one time.
Chester Borough Councilman James Robshaw said that the amount of detritus generated from the storm was “about 20 times” what the Department of Public Works usually sees.
Alan Alpaugh, who took over the Chester Borough Department of Public Works hours before the storm began, said that Sandy was the worst storm he had ever seen, but that his crew immediately started clearing roads with the Fire Department.
“We had the streets cleared by 4 a.m. the night of the storm,” Alpaugh said. “What I mean cleared is the debris we could handle. Anything with wires, we did not touch.”
The Chester Borough Council began preliminary discussions on the purchasing of additional equipment to help remove the brush and finish clearing the roads.
“We need to get it off the street as quick at possible we need to get it off the streets before winter,” Chester Borough Mayor Bob Davis said.
In surrounding Chester Township, Mayor Bill Cogger said he has never seen trees move that way and that his DPW had cleared the streets within a day of the storm.
“I told JCP&L we had cleared everything we could,” Cogger said. "Chester Township will also be picking up sticks and branches less than 4" in diameter that you place at the roadside. Our DPW will also accept branches and limbs at their Furnace Road location during normal working hours and starting this Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the next 4 weeks."
The dispensing of the storm debris is also expected to be discussed at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Mayor and Council.
In Mendham Township, the Township Committee spent a portion of their election night meeting grappling over what to do with Sandy remnants piling up around the town.
“There are options that we need to discuss how we are going to approach the brush and debris on the street,” said Mendham Township Administrator Steve Mountain. “This is worse than either storm last year. This took us three months just to clear the street and this is worse than that.”
When it came to clearing private residences, many members of the committee were unsure if that was doable.
“This is a monumental task I don’t think our DPW to take on,” said committeeman Frank Cioppettini.
Mayor Sam Tolley agreed that the job seemed too large for the Township.
“We are talking about thousands of trees, we need to talk about the immediate concerns of clearing the roads,” Tolley said.
The Township Committee will be meeting Saturday, Nov. 10 at 9 a.m. to continue the discussion.
In Mendham Borough, Department of Public Works Superintendent Ken O’Brien and his crew are already working with a plan in place.
“We are still widening roads. We will get it don within the next month or so,” O’Brien said. “We are probably going to start hiring a some part time assistance. Within a week or so we can start brush pickup.”