Debris cleanup progressing in Beacon Falls

Debris from the tornado in May is piled in a yard along Burton Road on Aug. 8. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — The town is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to cleaning up debris from the tornado in May.

Supreme Industries Inc., the Harwinton-based company hired to clean up debris still lingering from the storm, has been working in town for the past couple of weeks or so.

“There is a lot of work that had to be done. We have accomplished quite a bit already,” First Selectman Christopher Bielik said

Bielik said most of the damaged and downed trees and hanging limbs on town property have been removed and disposed of as of last week. The company has also cleaned up the pile of brush that was stored at the Pent Road Recreation Complex, he said.

“Now it is the effort of going around and picking up piles along the streets,” Bielik said.

The town’s contract with Supreme Industries is for about $292,000. Voters previously approved spending up to $300,000 from the town’s unassigned fund balance for the work.

The contract includes $207,000 to clean up and haul away the debris at a cost of $13.80 per cubic yard. Officials estimated there was 15,000 cubic yards of debris to clean up.

Bielik said as of early last week the company had removed about 5,000 cubic yards. He said the public works department is monitoring the company.

The Board of Selectmen awarded the company the bid to clean up debris for $207,000 during a special meeting in July. The additional work, which was part of the bid, was subsequently awarded. It includes $30,000 for tree cutting and $11,000 for removal of hanging limbs. The rest of the cost is for other tasks, such as stump removal, Bielik said.

The work was expected to take three to four weeks to complete, said Bielik, who asked residents to be patient and the company will get to their street.

“We are approaching the finish line. We will get to everything,” Bielik said.

Although the cleanup is progressing, Mattheis Park remains closed.

Bielik said the public works department is inspecting the park to see if there are still any hanging limbs or leaning trees that could potentially be dangerous. The park has been closed since the tornado.

The town is paying to have the debris hauled away, in part, because the former area where brush was dumped — a piece of town-owned land adjacent to the wastewater treatment facility on Lopus Road — is now the site of the town’s solar panel farm.

Officials are in talks with O&G Industries to obtain a 5.5 acre parcel near the public works garage on Lopus Road to use for brush disposal, Bielik said. The town will likely be able to obtain it from O&G for a “nominal fee,” he said.

The town is looking over land records and doing a title search, Bielik said. He expects the town to take ownership of the land by late September.