Des Moines Reaching Final Stages of Derecho Recovery

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DES MOINES, Iowa– It’s been nearly three months since a derecho struck central Iowa. The city of Des Moines is just now reaching the final stages of recovery. 

In a matter of four and a half weeks, more than 9,000 loads of storm debris was collected and hauled off to the MWA Compost Center.

Des Moines Public Works director, Jonathan Gano said the department is now tasked with mulching and disposing of this wreckage. However, with the August derecho affecting over 90 square miles of Des Moines, Gano said this process could take months on end.

The state of Iowa is offering the Polk County city some assistance by providing a Tub Grinder, also known as the ‘super mulcher’ machine. 

It is estimated that the Tub Grinder will take three weeks to turn the debris into mulch. Gano said this saves the city money and allows public works crews to refocus on the city’s infrastructure maintenance needs. 

“We kind of caught a glancing blow as this derecho plied it’s way across Central Iowa. So we’re happy to have been on the lighter end of that brunt,” Gano said. “That still took three months, and a lot of time, energy and effort from a lot of people to get clean up.” 

According to Gano, with this super mulcher, the city could reach a full recovery by the end of November. Gano said this assistance from the state saves Des Moines several thousands of dollars. 

“If we had to pay this ourselves, normal disaster recovery operations have a provision for federal reimbursement for that in case of a declared disaster,” Gano said.  “But you still have to write a check for the full bill or the work, when the work is done and then you apply for reimbursement. So this is a great way to be able to preserve the cash of cities and counties.” 

If residents still have storm debris to dispose of, there is one final free event scheduled on Saturday, November 21st. Yard waste should be delivered to the MWA Compost Center.

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