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Limited slash-collection opportunities a hot topic

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With Rooney Road site no longer an option, residents wonder where to stash slash as fire season approaches

By Daniel Laverty

With the prospect of another hot, dry summer looming and the Rooney Road Recycling Center no longer accepting slash, mountain area residents are wondering what to do with the annual byproduct of their fire-mitigation efforts.

“The fact that Jeffco Open Space let us use the site for two years and granted a two-year extension was great,” said James McCarthy, a member of the Rooney Road Authority board. “Unfortunately, the long-term use of the Rooney site doesn’t fit with Open Space’s policies.”

Since 2008, residents could take their slash to the Rooney Road Recycling Center to be processed, and it became a cost-effective and popular option for mountain residents.

But with the Rooney site no longer an option — and the sheriff’s annual slash-collection efforts restricted to just three weekends — residents are wondering what to do with their slash.

“(By closing the Rooney site), it’s pushing land owners to burn their own slash, or ignore it all together, which is a wildfire danger,” Conifer resident Robert Tonsing said. “I’m not sure that’s the best thing to be encouraging.”

A county-operated slash-collection site proposed at Shaffers Crossing has been approved, but that plan has disappointed some residents, Tonsing said, citing the cost of making the drive there.

The site, which was approved by the Jeffco Planning Commission last June, has yet to see any funding.

“Should the Board of Commissioners ever decide to fund it, the Shaffer site would be ready to go,” said Jeanie Rossillon, Jeffco’s director of development and transportation. “There are just too many other things that need to be funded right now.”

County Commissioner Don Rosier said it could take two years or more to find the funds to make the Shaffers Crossing collection site operational.

“The Shaffer site has gone through Planning and Zoning and is now in the funding phase,” Rosier said. “We take this issue very seriously, but it’s very difficult when you look at our decreased budget.”

Sheriff plans three collection sites in ’13

The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office will again be working with local fire districts to host remote slash pickup sites this summer. Residents can drop off slash, tree limbs, pine needles and other debris for a fee. The first collection site is June 15 and 16 at Conifer High School.

“There are many other sites people can take their slash to year-round,” said Thea Rock, spokeswoman for Jeffco Open Space.

Clear Creek County’s Transfer Station and Recycling Center, at 1531 Soda Creek Road in Idaho Springs, accepts slash all year and charges $8 per cubic yard. Starting April 15 through Sept. 30, the site will accept slash for free from Clear Creek County residents and will accept slash from non-residents for the fee.

Renting wood chippers to eliminate slash has been a popular alternative, as the mulch created can be used for landscaping purposes.

The website www.earth911.comcan search and locate recycling centers throughout the state and lists what types of materials they accept.

Rock said two popular sites are All Demolition Excavating Co., 303-467-3366, in Arvada, and Oxford Recycling, 303-762-1160, in Englewood.

Though these sites and methods lack the convenience that the Rooney Road Recycling Center offered, a longer drive to dispose of slash may be worth it in the long run.

“I would strongly not recommend people burning slash piles,” Rosier said. “It’s an ongoing, important issue that we continue to look at. It’s obviously much cheaper to prevent a fire than to stop one.”

Contact Daniel Laverty at Daniel@evergreenco.comor at 303-350-1043. Check www.HighTimberTimes.comfor updates.

 

Slash collection sites, schedule and fees

NOTE: All sites will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• June 15 and 16

Conifer High School, 10441 Highway 73

Host: Elk Creek Fire

• June 22 and 23

Coal Creek Fire Station 2, Highway 72 and Camp Eden Road

Host: Coal Creek Fire

• Aug. 10 and 11

Inter-Canyon Station 3, 8445 S. Highway 285

Host: Inter-Canyon/Indian Hills fire

Fees

• Small pickup: bed-high, $5; cab-high, $8; above cab-high, $10

• Large pickup: bed-high, $8; cab-high, $10; above cab-high, $12

• Trailer: single axle, $10; double axle,  $15

• Dump truck: cab-high, $20; above cab-high, $25

The collection sites will accept the following items:

Slash, limbs, tree debris, pine needles

The collection sites will NOT accept:

Household trash, tree stumps, construction material