AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) crews have picked up about 65,000 dumpster truck loads of tree limbs and debris since the February 2023 freeze, it announced Wednesday morning.

That’s equivalent to 100,000 tons of material, ARR Director Ken Snipes said.

“This has been massive and extensive effort here in the city of Austin, much more debris than we’ve collected at any other time for any other storm events or any other situations that we’ve had to deal with in terms of recovery efforts,” Snipes said.

The sound of clean-up trucks outside of homes is welcomed by neighbors who have waited weeks for a response to their 311 service request.

“One word: finally,” neighbor Al Addison said.

Addison said he didn’t know crews were going to be in his neighborhood Wednesday.

“Like Christmas morning,” Addison said with a light chuckle. “We had called 311, originally to schedule…I called him the other day and said, ‘Hey, do you have an ETA,’ and they go, ‘Well, no, we hope to be done by April.'”

That’s still the City of Austin’s goal.

According to staff, as of Wednesday morning, 311 logged 39,000 service requests.

“In terms of other previous events, this is almost like the city of Austin has the effects of a…category one or two hurricane with the amount of downed vegetation that is in the city,” Director of Post Disaster Environmental Services Director Nick Russo said.

Staff said they’re now taking piles of debris from neighborhoods to these three city sites.

The city said these sites are helping resource recovery crews work faster.

However, at the Bolm District location, some neighbors are wondering how long they’ll have to endure the unintended consequences of the city-wide clean-up process.

“Any dust gets just kind of gets blown slowly into the neighborhood over here,” neighbor Brett Grobarz said. “My question is, when this property was allocated to do this work, was there any consideration?”        

Austin Resource Recovery responded to Grobarz’s concerns in a statement:

“The City and contractors monitor dust and noise at each park site as part of the recovery of this hurricane level of tree disaster. The use of these park locations helps the department speed up storm debris collection efforts by providing a nearby place for debris to be emptied. Trucks fill up quickly on routes and a regional transfer location allows collection trucks to return to the field quicker.  When this storm debris collection event concludes, contractors will be required to restore the sites to their original condition.

Grobarz just wishes the hours crews work were more considerate of neighbors.

“I mean, it’s a rock and a hard place, the work has to get done,” Grobarz said.

If you can’t get through to 311 you can keep calling, but it’s not necessary.

Staff said all debris piles will be picked up, even if it takes contractors longer than the end of April to get out to neighborhoods.

“We’re grateful,” Addison said.

Those debris drop-off sites are not open to the public. You’ll want to make sure nothing is blocking the debris that will prevent workers from picking it up.