Barrington DPW chipping away at brush piles
On County Road, a hearty maple tree lay in cracked pieces across a front yard. A few homes to the south, a massive pine tree splintered by unrelenting winds during the early February blizzard rested perpendicular to the ground. And about a mile away on Lincoln Avenue, a once-towering oak rested prone, buckled and broken.
Downed trees are all over Barrington, and have set the stage for one of the largest winter cleanups ever, said Barrington Department of Public Works Director Alan Corvi.
“If you go down Adams Point and Preston, it was like every tree,” Mr. Corvi said. “It was all over the whole town. A lot of pines and soft woods. ... As far as tree damage, this was pretty intense for a snowstorm.”
Mr. Corvi said he’s never seen so much tree damage from a winter storm. He said his department has started the cleanup process but is urging residents to remain patient — there is no list of stops for residents to add their names to, and the brush-chipping program does not officially begin until April 8.
“We’re doing the best we can,” he said.
Right now, the majority of DPW vehicles are outfitted for snow-plowing and sanding, which are normal winter duties. Mr. Corvi said the truck usually used for chipping brush is rigged to sand and will remain that way until winter is over.
“Right now we’re out there with some smaller trucks,” he said. “We’re trying to get some streets open... we still have blocked roads.
“All our trucks are on deck for snow removal.”
Mr. Corvi said the process of re-fitting the larger truck for brush-chipping can be cumbersome and time-consuming and pose problems to the department if another winter storm strikes.
“We’re going very slow, but we’re doing the best we can,” he said.
Mr. Corvi said residents who wish to have their brush piles removed in a quicker fashion can hire a private contractor; if they don’t mind waiting a bit, the town will eventually chip roadside piles and haul away the chips.
Town officials considered hiring private companies to assist with the cleanup, but the costs were reportedly too much, and the federal government does not appear interested in supplying disaster aid for the effort.
“We brought up the idea with FEMA,” Mr. Corvi said, referring to the federal emergency management agency. “It doesn’t look good.”
The DPW director said the town is not accepting brush from residents either.
“We don’t have any place to put it,” he said.
In the meantime, officials are asking residents to be patient.
“We’ve been out there since two days after the blizzard,” Mr. Corvi said. “We’re getting there."
Got brush? Want to get rid of it?
Following are some of the options for disposing brush left behind by the early-February blizzard:
• Wait for the DPW. Crews cleaning up after the storm will eventually reach all areas of Barrington.
• Call ahead. Residents can call the public works department a week prior to the start of the brush-chipping program (it begins April 8) and put their addresses on a list that workers will follow. DPW phone: 247-1907.
• Hire a company. Residents can call a tree company or landscaper to help with the cleanup.
• Hope for warmer weather. The sooner it appears winter is through, the sooner DPW staff will re-rig vehicles for duties like brush-chipping.