Manitoba

1,700 tonnes of branches, downed trees collected so far in Winnipeg after storm

Winnipeggers have made about 12,000 visits to drop off wood from broken branches and downed trees since the snowstorm earlier this month.

Storm destruction earned the nicknames 'tree apocalypse' and 'tree Armageddon'

Officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by the storm — not including trees on private property — and the city forester has said it could take a year to clean it all up. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Winnipeggers have made about 12,000 visits to drop off wood from broken branches and downed trees since the snowstorm earlier this month.

That, along with the wood debris collected by crews working on behalf of the city, has amounted to more than 1,700 tonnes of material being dumped at city landfills and 4R depots, Winnipeg solid waste manager Mike Gordichuk said Thursday.

And there's much more still to come.

Crews, including those from the city and others contracted from other Canadian municipalities, are still out cleaning up the mess from the destruction that has earned nicknames like "tree apocalypse" and "tree Armageddon" from people posting images of the aftermath on social media.

The storm — which started Oct. 10 and really picked up on the 11th, before trailing off on the 12th — brought strong winds and wet snow that felled trees and knocked out power for days in some cases.

Aerial view of the estimated 1,774 tonnes of storm-related wood debris at Brady Road Resource Management Facility. 0:30

With trees still covered in autumn leaves — and above-freezing conditions — the moisture-laden snow accumulated in the canopy, weighing heavily on limbs and branches, until many came crashing down.

Officials estimate at least 30,000 city-owned trees were affected by the storm — which doesn't include any trees on private property — and the city forester has said it could take a year to clean it all up.

The wood debris being collected will be shredded and turned into chips, the city said. It will then be mixed with biosolids and street sweepings from street maintenance operations to create a soil-like material for landscaping.

The city uses an industrial wood grinder at the Brady Road landfill to create the chips. A second grinder is on its way from Kenora, Gordichuk said.

"It's actually going to be arriving in Winnipeg tomorrow. We're working with public works as to where we're going to position it. We're going to be moving it around to specific spots," he said.

All the wood requires two passes through the grinder in order to kill the emerald ash borer, a beetle that's laying waste to city ash trees. Elm bark beetles are destroyed after only one pass, Gordichuk said.

The storm, which started Oct. 10 and really picked up on the 11th before trailing off on the 12th, brought strong winds and wet snow that felled trees and knocked out power for days in some cases. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

The city is reminding people hauling branches to the landfills or depots to properly secure their loads, after a number of tickets were handed out last weekend by the RCMP.

Tickets for unsecured loads can be upwards of $300.

The city's website has more information on what to do with the debris from fallen trees and branches.

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