NEWPORT NEWS -- The trees knocked down by Hurricane Irene are being turned into mulch in Newport News.
Workers at a composting site in the city are working as fast as they can to make the mulch. In the past three weeks, crews have hauled about 60,000 cubic yards of storm debris to the composting site to be mulched.
The city says that by the end of this week, crews picking up storm debris will have completed a first pass-through on every city street. The trucks are out from 7:00 a.m. until just before dark.
"You spend a lot of time transporting instead of actually picking up. That's why it’s taking us a little bit longer to do things than most people might have expected," explained solid waste administrator Tim Shockley.
The composting site is running out of space and Shockley says keeping too much mulch there can be a fire hazard.
One idea is to take some of the mulch to the landfill in Hampton to use it as cover.
"We're trying to take it places like the Bethel landfill where they can use it and it won't be seen as a revenue, because we're not getting any revenue from it,” said Shockley. “That's why we're taking that route."
Residents who pay the landfill fee can also take mulch for no extra charge. The city says they must load it themselves.
The composting site is located at 550 Atkinson Way near Mary Passage Middle School.