AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin is still working to clean debris left behind from the early February ice storm. Thousands of trees froze and fell, leaving behind tons of limbs and branches.
Austin Resource Recovery or ARR has been working to collect what it says is an “unprecedented” amount of debris from the storm.
ARR said the cleanup process could take nearly three months. It expects the last pass of debris cleanup to be done by April 30.
The tonnage of material collected in just one week after the 2023 winter storm surpassed the total amount collected after the 2021 winter storm, according to ARR.
ARR said there will be several passes through the city collecting storm debris, and it anticipates the first pass will be completed by the end of the first week of March. The combined forces of 70 staff and contracted crews are helping with the cleanup process.
Many areas will likely require a second or third collection to clear all storm debris, ARR said in a press release. It expects those to be done by April 30.
After that, ARR said it will change focus from broad passes through the city and continue collections as needed, strictly through special storm debris collection requests made through Austin 311. Those will continue through June 30.
By Feb. 16, more than 34,828 tons of storm debris were collected through 4,985 truckloads. ARR estimates its first pass through the city is roughly halfway completed.
How it works
Currently, storm debris collection routes are based on the volume of service requests in a given area. ARR uses 311 service requests in an area as a guide to determine which neighborhoods/regions have material set out and ready for collection and should be serviced first.
Still, ARR will collect all storm debris from its customers – that is properly placed at the curb – on that same street regardless of a request being submitted for a specific address.
ARR will only collect storm debris from its curbside customers (single-family homes, duplexes and fourplexes in Austin). If someone is unsure if they are an ARR customer, they can search for their address online at austintexas.gov/myschedule. If the address does not show up as an ARR customer, then the name of their hauler is typically imprinted in their trash and recycling carts — that is who they should contact for storm debris removal options.
Regardless of whether they are ARR customers, Austin and Travis County residents can also drop off storm debris (large tree limbs, small and large branches, shrubs and leaves) at Austin Water’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant (2210 FM 973, Austin, Texas). Get operation times and drop-off details.
More than 3,500 loads of storm debris have been dropped off at the facility by residents, weighing in at 1,382 tons through Feb. 16.
Operations in some city parks
Austinites should be aware some city parks (Circle C Ranch Metro Park, Bolm District Park and Old Manor Road) are being used as temporary storage areas for ARR contractors to clear large tree limbs and branches from neighborhoods.
After it’s brought to the park, storm debris will be ground into mulch and taken to Austin Water’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, where it will be used to create Dillo Dirt. ARR is working with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to minimize the impact on park operations. The use of these locations is helping ARR speed up storm debris collection efforts by providing a nearby place for truckloads of debris to be emptied. These locations will be active until storm clean-up is complete, and then parks will be returned to their normal state.
These are not public dropoff locations, and contractors must have a city-issued contract and approval for use. Verification of credentials is required for dropoffs.