Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 17, 2014

Free mulch available in Fairfield

By STACI ANN WILSON WRIGHT | Jul 11, 2013
A tub grinder converts sticks and leaves into mulch at South 20th Street, just south of the Fairfield Community School District Transportation Office.

The city of Fairfield is again offering mulch to city residents.

In the past, the city has made mulch available on West Jefferson Street behind Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store and also behind O’Reilly Auto Parts. Public works director Darrel Bisgard said today mulch is still available at those locations, but the city is now offering multiple mulch-related services on South 20th Street, just south of the Fairfield Community School District Transportation Office.

Residents may dump lawn waste at the site, including brush, tree limbs and grass clippings. These are run through a tub grinder, making mulch.

The tub grinder was on site Wednesday and today. Bisgard said the tub grinding will be done twice each year. The mulch will then be made available to the public free of charge.

Bisgard said he believes this mulch is of a higher quality than what the city has offered people in the past. Prior to making mulch with a tub grinder, the city used to make it by running brush and branches through a horizontal grinder.

“There were a lot of larger sticks and twigs in the old stuff. This will be better stuff,” Bisgard said. “It won’t be perfect. It may still have some small pieces of sticks and branches in it, but it’s free. People aren’t paying for it, so they can’t be too fussy.”

When dropping off grass clippings, brush and tree cuttings, Bisgard said people must read the signs and place items in the designated spot.

“There are signs indicating where to put things,” he said. “It should be self-explanatory. We’ve tried to make it that way.”

Bisgard said at this time, people can drop off yard waste and pick up mulch 24 hours per day. However, if people begin abusing the mulch site by dropping off trash, concrete or other waste, the site will have to be fenced off and opened by appointment only.

“It’s open 24/7 as long as people use it correctly, and it works on an honor system,” Bisgard said. “We have already had people drop off trash and concrete and that simply is not allowed.

“If people don’t follow the rules, we can close it down and put strict hours on it. We don’t want to do that, but we will if we have to,” he said.

In the future, compost also will be available to the public free of charge. The city will begin making compost this fall, combining the mulch, grass clippings and leaves, Bisgard said. The first compost should be available some time next spring.

“We’re still experimenting right now, so we aren’t advertising any compost yet, but it should be ready in the spring,” he said.

Residents who need help loading mulch should call the Fairfield Street Maintenance Garage at 472-4750 to make an appointment for assistance. If no one answers, leave a message and a city maintenance worker will return calls.

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