Yard waste size limited at Cattaraugus County DPW's two composting sites

New rules in effect at Cattaraugus County composting sites now prohibit wood and other yard waste larger than 4 feet long and 4 inches in diameter.

A change in Cattaraugus County’s Solid Waste Law that took effect Jan. 1 places some limits on large loads of yard waste.

The biggest change is that the Cattaraugus County composting sites at the former Five Points and Farwell landfill sites are no longer accepting tree trunks or branches over 4 inches in diameter and 4 feet long.

Residents are encouraged to compost small quantities of leaves, grass clippings and brush at home, or bring up to 1 cubic yard to transfer stations except Machias and Conewango, said Linda McAndrew, waste management coordinator.

“We’re trying to get out the word to people who take yard waste directly to Farwell in particular,” McAndrew said.

Those residents and businesses with larger loads of yard waste can use the composting sites at either of the closed landfills at Farwell in Ischua or Five Points in Mansfield, McAndrew said.

All material must be less than 4 feet long and 4 inches in diameter. No tree or brush stumps will be permitted to be left at the composting sites, she emphasized.

No rocks, garbage, treated or painted wood, blacktop, pallets, concrete, rail ties, demolition debris or plastic bags may be taken to the composting sites.

There are large signs at the composting site listing prohibited materials. There is a smaller sign stating the area is under video surveillance to deter illegal dumping.

Much of the reason for banning larger pieces of wood was that the county had to pay about $89,000 earlier this year to grind up all the large wood and branches that had piled up at the two sites over a couple of years, McAndrew pointed out.

“We didn’t charge anything for the service,” McAndrew said. “We didn’t want to cut service to the public, but it would have been costly to man the composting sites.” Limiting the size of the wood debris and installing video surveillance systems seemed like middle ground to members of the County Legislature’s Public Works Committee last year.

Much of the large pieces of wood came from high wind events and other blowdowns from municipalities as well as utilities and private tree services. The open composting site at Farwell received more yard waste than Five Points, which had controlled access, McAndrew said.

A mobile grinding service came to Farwell and Five Points last spring, rendering piles of wood, branches and other yard waste into mulch. County residents are welcome to pick up that mulch.

A Machias logging company, Murphy’s Logging and Firewood, has offered to take the larger pieces of wood that can no longer be disposed of at the county composting sites at its timber yard at 2228 Elton Road, Delevan, said Public Works Commissioner Kathleen Ellis.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)