Carroll County Times

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) — Carroll County Department of Public Works crews have been working around the clock to turn thousands of trees and branches brought down by the brutal winter into mulch. But now, there is more mulch than the county knows what to do with.

Jeff Topper, deputy director of the Carroll County Department of Public Works, estimated there is between 600 and 700 tractor-trailer loads of mulch at the Northern Landfill and Recycling Center in Westminster.

Carroll’s free mulch program allows residents throughout the year to self-load one pickup truck load or three cubic yards per trip from the landfill.

Unfortunately, Topper said, no one is taking advantage of the free mulch.

“The market is flooded with mulch,” Topper said. “It’s like we can’t give it away now.”

Crews have been working overtime on nights and weekends to chip the downed trees and branches found on county properties or brought in by the public.

Tom Rio, administrator for the county’s Department of Public Works, has said long lines have begun forming at the landfill on Saturdays when residents bring in their trees and branches.

Despite working overtime to chip all the tree limbs, the demand does not seem to be slowing down, Rio said.

Topper estimated it will be another two months before crews can finally slow down on chipping materials into mulch. When that happens, Topper said the landfill will likely have between 1,000 and 2,000 tractor-trailer loads of mulch for the taking.

“The pile of mulch had gotten so big that we needed a (bulldozer) to push it back and away so that we had more working space,” Topper said.

While small amounts of mulch are free to Carroll residents, commercial customers are charged $2 per cubic yard for larger amounts.

Topper said the county has not considered waiving the fee for commercial users despite having trouble getting rid of the mulch it now has.

The reason, he said, was because very few people are even taking advantage of the free mulch. There are so many places to get mulch right now, Topper said, that people have not expressed interested in getting large quantities from the county for free or at a small cost.

Mulch is typically spread over the surface of the soil as a covering. The material is used to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds and make gardens look more attractive.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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