Weeks of Mulching Underway Signifies Final Stages of Derecho Cleanup

DES MOINES, IOWA – Wednesday, October 28, 2020 – The summer derecho blew through Des Moines over two months ago, but cleanup is just now entering its final stages. One massive task is remaining however, as tons of storm debris are being ground up into a mountain of mulch – a job that could take until mid-November.

On Monday, August 10, 2020, Des Moines and much of the state of Iowa experienced a derecho that punched hurricane-strength winds, knocking out power and causing damage to both property as well as trees.  Over two months later, the City of Des Moines Public Works Department’s cleanup is entering its final stages.

“We had crews putting in 12-hour days for weeks at a time to clean up our city,” Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said. “It’s nice to put an end to this months-long effort to clean up after one of the most terrific thunderstorms that’s on record in the United States.”

On September 17, City of Des Moines Public Works crews finished a single-pass curbside collection of storm debris to assist residents in cleaning up. In just four and half weeks, more than 9,000 loads were collected and hauled off to the MWA Compost Center. Now, the task turns to mulching and disposing of the massive amount of debris.

This mulching and disposal effort is currently underway at the MWA Compost Center. Gano estimates that the effort will take three weeks. 

“It costs several hundred thousand dollars to mulch this much debris,” Gano said. “The fact that the State of Iowa is doing that is a great service to the residents of Des Moines.”

If residents still have storm debris to dispose of, there is one final free SCRUB event scheduled for Saturday, November 21 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Yard waste should be delivered to the MWA Compost Center at 1601 Harriett Street.  For more information, visit DSM.city/SCRUB.


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.