City extends brush collection due to severity of damage

The city will continue to collect storm-felled debris until Monday night, officials announced. Originally, the cleanup was scheduled to be a one-day sweep across the city.

The decision came about due to severe high winds and driving rains that downed whole trees and snapped large limbs on Tuesday.

Homeowners may place tree limbs of no more than 12 inches in diameter at the curbs, according to William C. Wright, general manager of the city streets and parks department.

City firefighters responded to more than 40 calls during the height of the thunderstorm, according to Deputy Chief David Dymeck, who said nobody was injured and no structures needed to be evacuated for structural reasons.

Meanwhile, Wright also faces pressure because the recycling center brush pile on West Third Street was near capacity before the latest storm.

To reduce the size, the city rents a tub-grinding machine, which turns brush into pulp. The machine is provided for a price from Lycoming County and it is in high demand.

“The city is good at notifying me when they need me,” said Jason Yorks, resource recovery manager with Lycoming County Resource Management Services at the county landfill. “So is Old Lycoming Township, Loyalsock Township, Montoursville and other boroughs with brush piles. We try to do them consecutively.”

A portable machine, it is hauled to the sites by a tractor on a trailer. The recent series of storms has resulted in the machine heading from customer to customer and being on the road five days a week.

“Once it’s ground, it’s the customers’ responsibility what to do with the mulch,” Yorks said.

Wright said homeowners can assist the crews by chopping or sawing down any large limbs to smaller sizes or hire a tree surgeon.

Wind accompanying the storms ripped off old limbs and the rain loosened the ground around the trunks.

During the storms, firefighters have gone out in their engines and checked all of the downed trees, getting the utility pole numbers and sending them into PPL to handle the electrical issues, Dymeck said.

Firefighters also check whether trees or limbs are crossing the streets, he said.