Grand Rapids Continues Efforts to Clear Debris After Severe Storms

City officials look for environmentally friendly way to use storm debris

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In the aftermath of powerful storms that swept through Grand Rapids over a month ago, the city remains committed to the cleanup of fallen debris.

Joe Sulak, the parks superintendent for the city of Grand Rapids, emphasized in an interview with Wood-TV the enormity of the task at hand, citing the abundance of tree trunks and limbs as a significant challenge.

The storm hit on August 24 and the cleanup effort started immediately after that. “I was on the street, our crews were on the street starting about 10 that evening,” Sulak says. “This endeavor required considerable overtime from our public works and forestry departments, as well as various other individuals and contractors enlisted to assist in the removal of large-scale debris.”

Sulak also told Wood-TV that power outages added to the complexity of cleanup. “Safety precautions were paramount, as many trees were entangled with power lines, causing a slowdown in the process,” Sulak says.

Crew first tackled areas they identified as immediate need. “Our primary concern was to ensure that public spaces were clear and functional, including parks and cemeteries,” Sulak says. “We centralized the collected debris for eventual transportation to the designated green waste facility.”

Sulak is searching for contractors to assess whether the wood debris can be used for lumber, ground down for mulch, or utilized as a compost filler. An abundance of debris following storms is common and the uses are plentiful if contractors have the means of converting the would-be waste into a valued resource. “Our aim is to find the most suitable and environmentally conscious end use for this material,” he says. 

Information sourced from Wood-TV article -


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