Greensburg overwhelmed with brush pickup requests
An overwhelmed Greensburg Department of Public Works is asking residents to stop leaving large trees, loose grass and other unwieldy brush for city workers to clean up.
“The call volume has increased dramatically, and some have taken advantage of the service, which is not fair to the people that have not,” Councilman Gregory Mertz said.
The city’s free brush pickup program has been around for decades, and it’s not going anywhere, Public Works Director Thomas Bell said. However, residents lately have been ignoring the program’s restrictions, and it’s pushing the department to its limits, he said.
“It just gets to the point where they’re abusing the system,” Bell said.
The brush pickup program is meant for grass and leaves in biodegradable bags, dead branches and small trees, Bell said.
Recently, people have been dumping large amounts of loose grass, mulch and leaves on the side of the road and calling the city for brush pickup, according to Bell. Some residents have hired contractors to cut down large trees, then called the city to dispose of the wood rather than pay extra to have the contractors haul it away.
These problems have increased over the past year or so, Bell said.
It’s not unusual for the city to receive 40 or more brush pickup requests on a busy day. Removing one large tree can take workers an hour or two, according to Bell.
The city might have to send extra workers for particularly unwieldy pickups, which has the ripple effect of delaying other public works projects, like street paving, he said.
In neighboring Hempfield, residents can burn their brush, Bell said. This isn’t allowed in Greensburg, where houses are closer together, increasing the fire risk.
That’s why the city offers brush pickup, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, Bell said.
He asks residents put their grass and leaves in biodegradable bags, and find other ways to dispose of bushes, construction materials and large trees.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .