City Tackles Storm Cleanup: What You Need to Know

DES MOINES, IOWA – Tuesday, August 11, 2020 – The City of Des Moines Public Works Department updated guidelines today for neighborhood cleanup following an unusual summer thunderstorm that caused extensive tree damage and knocked out power throughout the City. Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said the guidelines will assist with Citywide curbside collection of tree debris starting on Monday, August 17. To expedite the cleanup effort, Des Moines has also expanded SCRUB events this week for those residents removing debris on their own.

“The destruction from this unusual storm touched every neighborhood in Des Moines and that means we’re looking at weeks of cleanup, not simply a few days,” said Public Works Director Jonathan Gano. “We have every available City crew on the street, so please be patient and allow our workers some extra room so we can tackle this job safely and quickly.”

Curbside collection

The City will offer curbside collection of storm-related tree branches starting on Monday, August 17. The work will take several weeks to complete. All material must be placed out for collection in all areas of the City by 6:00 a.m. on that day, and residents must follow these guidelines for collection:

  • Tree branches must be placed on City right-of-way “parallel” to the curb. The placement of branches the same direction as the street and/or sidewalk allows mechanical equipment to load the material efficiently and minimize damage to the right-of-way. City crews will only be collecting material that is placed at the edge of the street.
  • Branches cannot exceed 18 inches in diameter or eight feet in length.
  • Branches that are too long will be left behind.
  • Residents are encouraged to utilize the Metro Waste Authority Compost-It! program for smaller debris that is typically handled by this program. Bags and bundles will be collected on the regularly scheduled collection day.
  • Garden vegetation and incidental trimming and branches from trees not damaged from the storm should not be placed out for collection. Put in bags or bundles for collection on your regular collection day.
  • Tree branches should not be placed near fire hydrants, mailboxes, utilities or any other item in the right-of-way which could be damaged by equipment during the collection.
  • No tree material from work done by private contractors should be placed on the right-of-way for collection. Contractors are required to haul away any tree debris that is a result of their work.

Drop-off disposal

The expanded SCRUB event includes the opening of the MWA Compost Center (1601 Harriett Street) for Des Moines residents Wednesday, August 12 through Friday, August 14 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for normal yard waste drop-off. The regular SCRUB event is still scheduled for Saturday, August 15 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at the MWA Compost Center (1601 Harriett Street) for Des Moines residents only. Storm debris can only be delivered to the MWA Compost Center.

WE WANT TO CLEARLY SPECIFY - Regular SCRUB guidelines apply and there are no exceptions:

Vehicle requirements:
  • Cars, pickups and small trailers (12’ maximum).
  • Trailers must be single axle, no longer than 12', no wider than 6.6', with sides no higher than 4' high. (no dump box trailers of any size.)
  • Commercial haulers MUST use the landfill.
Yard debris accepted:
  • Yard waste containers
  • Brush, tree limbs (24" diameter or less; maximum length 10') and trimming
  • Loose leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw, hay
  • Garden waste

If a resident has a large private tree that’s down, their best course of action is to hire a tree service to remove and dispose of it.

For additional information, residents are encouraged to call the 24-hour Public Works Customer Service Center at (515) 283-4950 or file a report using myDSMmobile.

City Forestry inspection of Polk Blvd. derecho damage:

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.