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Storm Debris Fills Recycling Center to Capacity

Pill Hill center hours will shorten as township makes more room.

A growing pile of storm debris and wood chips at Bernards Township's Pill Hill Recycling center has filled the facility to capacity, requiring a cutback in hours while the township seeks to rid itself of the pile, township officials said on Tuesday night.

Just last weekend, there were about 1,000 trips into the center on Pill Hill Road by residents or contractors who are supposed to be transporting materials for township residents, Township Administrator Bruce McArthur told the Township Committee on Tuesday night.

"There's just no more room for those materials," McArthur said. "An amazing amount of trees came down" during the Sandy storm at the end of October, and Bernards Township has asked residents to bring such wood and vegetative waste to the municipal Pill Hill landfill's recycling center.

Based on McArthur's recommendation, the facility — for in recent weeks had been open on weekdays and weekends to accommodate the dropoff of storm debris and wood materials — will be closed this Friday to allow the township to try to get rid of some of it, the township administrator said. It will reopen again on the weekend, he said.

After this weekend, the number of days the facility will be open will be cut back to 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, McArthur said.

Residents should bring proof of residency, and contractors should bring documentation showing that they are hauling materials from a township resident, McArthur said.

McArthur said there is some indication that some of the contractors bringing in storm debris are trying to drop them off for residents in other towns.

Mayor Mary Pavlini said those caught doing so should not be allowed into the facility again.

Normally, McArthur said, local contractors are happy to take the facility's wood chips to use on their jobs. But he wryly observed that the market for such material is difficult right now.

Earlier, during a detailed reported he gave to the Township Committee regarding the storm and the local emergency response, McArthur said all of the township's usual contacts for taking such recycled wood "bailed on us."

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