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Wilton Struggles With Post-October-Storm Cleanup

No advanced notices for street debris clearing, the power-grid system is 'fragile,' and some residents are dumping their debris on other streets.

The cleanup after Alfred has been a messy one. It’s still going to take several more weeks to clear all of Wilton as the town is struggling to take away all the debris from the side of its roads: Advanced notices for street-clearing are not an option, some residents are dumping their road debris on other steets, and there will most likely be more outages as inclimate weather flows in.

No advance notice for street clearings

At last night's Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectman William Brennan said that there were 16 Department of Public Works (DPW) employees and one crew of CL&P workers The team has four wood chippers, but one was down for maintenance on Monday.

Unexpected problems seem to be the main reason why the town won’t be issuing advanced will be cleared.

“Some residents have asked to three or four days” of notice that their street will be cleared, said Brennan.

“But some places take more time. It’s hard to predict, it’s hard to estimate. For example, the DPW may have to be diverted, for example, to fix a broken road rail. It’s turning out to be a very, very big project. We can’t be everywhere. I’m sorry. We wish we could be quicker, but please give these guys some slack,” said Brennan.

Expect more power outages, plan accordingly

“CL&P said the system is fragile after [these] two big storms,” said Brennan.

“We will have more outages. It is assured. We have to recognize that.”

Brennan said that some areas have been weakened due to things such as stretched wires—possibly due to branches hanging on the lines—and that another snow or wind storm would most likely take out power for some unlucky residents.

Residents would do well to plan accordingly and stock up on supplies for this coming winter.

Keep your debris to your street

“Some people have taken the debris and dumped it on other roads in town. Don’t do it. Police are [now] looking for it,” said Brennan.

On a more positive note, the Board believes “with reasonable assurance” that FEMA will pay up to 75-percent of the costs that Wilton has had to incur in post-storm cleanup and/or damages since a disaster area.

Jlo November 23, 2011 at 02:19 PM
I think people are forgetting that the town is doing this as a courtesy to the residents. They aren't chipping up and clearing things that fell on public roads, they are hauling away debris that fell in people's yards, and some people have left sizeable piles for them. I had a massive pile of debris from all the trees my neighbor and I lost, so I busted out the chainsaw, put it all in a pile, and paid a guy $400 bucks to come chip it. Its a huge task and nice of the town to do. If they wanted to they could tell everyone to drag their branches into the woods, rent their own chippers, or hire someone like I did.
Elyse November 23, 2011 at 04:01 PM
The town can't hire anyone for $10/etc an hour because of liability issues. The tree debris aren't being hauled away; they're being chipped on site. To haul away? It would take six months considering the debris I've seen! I'm sure all the chipped debris can be used around town property to keep down weeds and herbicide usage. This is definitely a courtesy from the town. I've never seen this offer come up before after a storm, and this storm caused a lot of damage. The longer it takes them to come to our road, the bigger the pile gets because some of the branches that got taken down are big and it takes time to drag them down to the pile. However, I sure hope lots is removed before any snow fall. I know the snow plows CAN push the branches aside as they did the day of the storm, but come Spring the cleanup would be god-awful, to say the least. And if you put debris out, try to make a neat stack. I'm sure it will make the workers job easier and more importantly for all of us, quicker ;)
Cathy November 23, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Thank you for taking this responsibility on yourself Jio.
Jlo November 23, 2011 at 06:04 PM
It's not as much man power as equipment. 2 or 3 guys can feed a chipper about as fast as it can chip. Wilton would have to hire full crews with their own chippers to make it go much faster and at that point the cost is going to be alot more than $10 an hour, it would probably be thousands per day for each crew.
Wilton Resident November 24, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I am confused.....I was under the impression the Town had offered to clear any debris from residents property that fell where the property meets the town road.....NOT a pile of debris that the resident dragged from various parts of their property. Did the Town really make the offer to clear everything and anything residents put in this pile at the side of the road? If they did, they should have realized the magnitude of the project. If they did not, they should clarify to residents this is not a full property clean up - it is ONLY for the items that fell where the property meets the road. Offering more than you can possible handle (manpower & financially) is foolish.

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