Berlin Offers Storm Debris Collection Day

BERLIN — In the aftermath of Irene, Berlin plans on finishing clean-up efforts with a public yard debris collection next Wednesday, Sept. 7.

“We haven’t had a storm this intense in a decade,” said Mayor Gee Williams.

Crawling up the coast last weekend, Irene brought flooding, hurricane winds and frequent power outages to the area. While Irene was the first major storm to strike Berlin in years, town officials all agreed that the community dodged a bullet.

“Most of it was just heavy wind,” said Public Works Director Mike Gibbons.

He pointed out that Berlin avoided the flooding that plagued communities as far south as Georgia and northwards of Vermont and New York. Still, the town received enough damage in the form of fallen trees and branches to get the town’s attention.

“We had some limbs down,” said Gibbons, who added that a few were significant enough that they blocked roads until his crews were able to dispose of them. One fallen tree blocked the railroad the runs through town off Washington St.

Gibbons confirmed that public clean-up, which includes clearing streets of any debris, was finished Thursday. Despite a significant number of fallen limbs, some of which were large, Gibbons revealed that damage to the town was minimal.

“Overall, we fared pretty well,” he said. “No major damages.”

Falling limbs did manage to cause some havoc within the town, however. Williams mentioned that Berlin suffered three isolated power outages during the storm, two of which were caused by fallen limbs, while the third was from a blown transformer. He did stress, though, that outages were relatively brief, especially when compared to some communities in other states that saw residents living for days without electricity.

Though public clean-up is finished, Gibbons acknowledged that many within the town saw their yards swamped by limbs and debris, some of which are large enough to require chainsaws and wood-chippers to deal with. Though many residents handled the yard work themselves or with the aid of neighbors, Williams saw no reason why public works couldn’t help as well.

“The cost is absolutely negligible to the town,” he said, noting that it will only take a minimum effort for town employees to collect and dispose of any remaining debris.

Residents who wish to take advantage of the collection are asked to bag yard debris as much as possible and leave it by their curb anytime between now and 7 a.m. Wednesday.