Kilgore’s 7.5-acre Green Waste Center is approaching its capacity, overrun with debris collected since a tree-toppling storm hit the community in mid-March.
The influx of trunks, limbs and other greenery prompted council members to approve a budget appropriation last week to grind the waste into mulch.
In addition to allocating up to $56,000 to process the excess, the council signed off on Ordinance No. 1741 May 7, allotting fiscal year 2019 budget funds to pay for cleanup related to the March 14 straight-line windstorm which caused serious damage in south Kilgore.
As part of the cleanup and recovery effort, the city hired additional contractors and equipment to handle the huge influx of organic debris and waste. Scores of trees were felled across the south end of the city, from residential neighborhoods to Kilgore ISD campuses.
In order to restore power, free people trapped in their homes and to return to business as usual, all of those trees had to be cut up and hauled off to the city’s green waste site.
“Our green waste site was over capacity and we were unable to move the debris with our own equipment,” said City Manager Josh Selleck, adding the city rented a very large bulldozer from local contractor K-K Mobbs for moving debris at the green waste site. The piles of organic debris had to be moved and piled up to make room for more waste as truckloads of tree limbs and other debris arrived at the site.
While the city used the bulldozer for two weeks, Mobbs only charged them $7,500 for one day of use and the services of an operator.
The city will also have to pay for grinding services to remove the overflow of waste at the storage site, estimated at 39,000 yards of debris.
“We have about double the amount of green waste as last time. Two years ago we ground it and it was about $30,000,” Selleck said. The original plan was to grind down the green waste with funds from the 2020 budget, but the storm forced the city’s hand. “There is still mulch available from the last time we grinded about two years ago. At this point, it’s degraded a good bit. It’s halfway between mulch and compost.
“There’s no guarantee that it’s weed- or seed-free, but we do know it heated a bit over the last two years as mulch piles do. It should be good, high-quality for mulch. It’s available for free – anybody that wants can go pick it up.”
The ordinance also allotted $4,300 to repair an older grapple truck which had been semi-retired and pressed back into service to help with the storm cleanup.
“We had to stack higher than we’ve ever stacked,” Kilgore Parks Director Danny Downing said. From the current piles at the green waste site, “We took 75 percent of that in this storm. The amount of debris was huge. We’re still hauling from the storm – the debris continues to build up.”
– KNH Editor James Draper contributed
to this article.