Record amount of storm debris picked up throughout Austin

The City of Austin is busy picking up a record amount of limbs and debris from the aftermath of the ice storm. They’re expecting it to take months.

About 70 crews with Austin Resource Recovery and contractors are busy collecting storm debris in Austin. 

Richard McHale, the Deputy Director for American Resource Recovery, said they’ve already picked up about 2,600 tons, about half of what was picked up during all of Winter Storm Uri.

"By the end of the week, we will have picked up more material than we did during all the 40 plus days of Uri," McHale said.

To expedite the process, ARR is asking for small branches to be placed in residents’ green composting carts. For pickup of larger branches, call 311. 

"We're using the service request that we do get through 311 to kind of prioritize and base that where we're going to send our crews," McHale said.

He said stack the larger branches along the curb with cut ends facing the street.

"We realize some people have so much debris that they just can't fit it in those guidelines, so we just ask them to do the best they can, but just not to have that material near mailboxes or over water meters because we don't want to damage anything else," McHale said.

He said this is going to take a while, but all of it will be picked up eventually.

"We’re hoping that we can do a first pass meaning get by everyone's house by the end of this month to at least give a first kind of clean, but we're going to have to come back numerous times, so we're going to do several sweeps," McHale said.

The material is taken to Austin Water Utility where it’s turned into mulch and mixed with biosolids to create compost.

For those who may have physical or financial limitations, the Austin Disaster Relief Network, a network of about 200 churches, is ready to help.

"Our desire is to identify those with the greatest need and help address those first and meet as much need as possible," Austin Disaster Relief Network Associate Director Stephen Brewer said.

Brewer said they’ve received more than 1,600 requests for assistance and church groups are stepping in to fulfill them.

"We see community members rising from all over for all different reasons that they may be motivated to respond, but it's beautiful to see a whole community come together to help meet the need that not one of us could do on our own," Brewer said.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network runs mostly off donations. If you’d like to help, click here.