WESTFIELD, NJ--Mayor Andy Skibitsky gave the following Hurricane Sandy update via the town's website, www.westfieldnj.gov, today:

The Town’s efforts to recover from the natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy, are ongoing.  The Town is currently in the process of conducting a one-time town wide curbside cleanup of storm related organic debris, such as branches and twigs, in addition to conducting the first pass of the leaf collection program.  Presently there are crews working simultaneously on both sides of Town, rain or shine.  To further expedite efforts, the Town has leased additional heavy equipment that increases collection and transportation capacity. In large operations such as this, with 380 municipal roadways to attend to, the Department of Public Works must focus on whole sections of Town rather than individual streets. This is more efficient because it minimizes travel time both to the assignment and to and from the disposal facility. In order for our crews to systematically clear all the debris, they are working in the same patterned sequence as in leaf collection. The following is a link to the leaf collection map for your reference.

Zones 1 and 7 have been completed and crews are currently working in zones 2 and 8. Please remember that this clean up is for organic debris such as branches and twigs. Due to the limitations of the town’s equipment and means of disposal, it does not include entire trees or tree trunks from private property. It remains the responsibility of private property owners to arrange for the disposal of trees from their own properties. Further, some tree removal contractors have approached residents and indicated that they would cut up trees on their private property, but would not remove them. Tree contractors must dispose of the tree remnants as they normally do and should not place the remnants at the curb. As an alternative to curbside pick-up of storm related organic debris, the Conservation Center is available to all residents, no permit required.
The time it is taking to pick up the debris is evidence of the magnitude of the task at hand - there is a massive volume of debris.  Until November 2, the Department of Public Works was engaged in emergency operations, following PSE&G as they removed power lines entangled in the trees, many blocking roadways.  Only until PSE&G addressed the downed wires could the DPW clear the Town's debris from the affected roadways.  The organic storm debris collection, then, could not commence until November 3.  Referring to the map and the size of the areas that have been completed, the Department of Public Works is making significant progress.

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Regarding leaf collection, in addition to curbside pickup, there are other options. Residents may bag them and call 789-4120 for pick up, they may bring them to the Conservation Center (no permit required), and, if they employ a landscaper, they can complete the coupon that allows their landscaper to bring the leaves to the Conservation Center on their behalf. The Conservation Center will be open extended hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18.  If you are going to place leaves at the curb, please place them in narrow rows, leaving a space along the gutter for drainage. In addition, leaves must not be placed within 10’ feet of a drainage inlet.

Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath has certainly forced residents to exercise due caution and extreme patience. Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding.