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Greene County’s ‘Mount Brushmore’ debris pile begins to disappear

Published: Monday, February 03, 2020 @ 1:00 AM


            The pile of debris from the Memorial Day tornadoes at Greene County Environmental services sprawl across the width of the property, measuring approximately 74,000 cubic yards. Staff photo / Sarah Franks
            Sarah Franks
The pile of debris from the Memorial Day tornadoes at Greene County Environmental services sprawl across the width of the property, measuring approximately 74,000 cubic yards. Staff photo / Sarah Franks(Sarah Franks)

The two biggest piles of vegetative tornado debris in the Miami Valley will begin to shrink even as Greene County encourages county residents to drop-off any remaining materials.

Vegetative debris — such as uprooted trees and broken limbs — collected around the county left by the Memorial Day tornadoes has remained staged in two heaping piles at the environmental services center and Cemex. Each pile measures approximately 74,000 cubic yards, comparable to a stack of 740 semi tractor trailers.

Previous coverage: Cleanup costs mount in Beavercreek following tornado

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In January, Greene County commissioners, the Greene County engineer, Beavercreek City and Beavercreek Twp. secured a vendor to process the vegetative debris. The vendor, Beeghly Tree, has prior experience managing debris generated from disasters, according to a release from environmental services.

Greene County residents are able to drop off special waste, yard waste and recycling materials to Environmental Services year-round. However, the center is urging residents to drop off any remaining vegetative debris, or organic yard materials, to environmental services as soon as possible, so the specialized equipment can grind it down to compostable size.

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A disaster the magnitude of the Memorial Day tornadoes often creates debris too large for the county to process with its own equipment.

Beeghly Tree will process the materials by reducing it through grinding. Once the material is ground, it will be delivered to registered and licensed compost facilities.

“We just have a huge appreciation to all of the residents that were impacted by the tornado,” said Dana Doll, Greene County environmental services manager, noting residents kept construction and natural debris separate. ‘They made it possible to collect clean vegetative debris that can be ground and processed. Because if it wasn’t clean, then we’re just going to have to put in land fill. They did what was asked.”

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Doll said the massive pile has earned a nickname in her book as “Mount Brushmore.”

Residents may drop off yard waste that is brush or firewood size. Maximum size of the brush is 4 inches in diameter and 8 feet long. Firewood maximum size is 14 inches in diameter and 18 inches long. There is no charge to drop off debris.

Beeghly Tree began processing the material last Monday. It is expected the materials at Cemex will be ground before the end of February, according to the release. Processing at Environmental Services is scheduled to start in late February and continue into March.

Jason Tincu, director of Greene County Sanitary Engineering, said the management of the vegetative debris was a cooperative effort of local governments to provide a vital service during a difficult time.

Environmental Services is located at 2145 Greene Way Blvd., Xenia. Operating hours when residents can drop off yard waste are Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.