Storms spark reminder about debris removal protocol

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published September 18, 2023

 The city of Farmington Hills recently reminded residents that the removal of debris from private property is the responsibility of the property owners.

The city of Farmington Hills recently reminded residents that the removal of debris from private property is the responsibility of the property owners.

Photo provided by the city of Farmington Hills

FARMINGTON HILLS — After severe weather came through Farmington Hills recently, the city sent out a press release to remind residents that removal of debris from private property is the responsibility of property owners.

Derrick Schueller, who is the superintendent for the Farmington Hills Division of Public Works, was recently asked about whether he thinks most residents are aware that debris removal is their responsibility.

“I think most are,” Schueller said. “We make a conscious effort with each storm to try to put out a release and remind residents of the rules and guidelines for that. … There’s always a little bit of confusion with different events that happen. … I think, in general, most people know that the right-of-way trees and the work that we do in the right-of-way, that’s DPW city responsibility, but private property residents have to arrange for that work and the disposal of that debris on their own.”

Pickup of tree branches and storm debris occurs on the regularly scheduled garbage day and follows the standard yard waste collection guidelines:

• Small limbs that are 6 inches in diameter or less and brush must be tied in bundles that do not exceed 4 feet in length or weigh more than 60 pounds per bundle.

• Unbundled brush and large limbs will not be picked up.

• Tree limbs larger than 6 inches in diameter will not be picked up by the city’s rubbish hauling contractor.

• Tree debris may be placed at the curbside for composting in brown paper yard waste bags or in trash cans no larger than 35 gallons with a maximum weight of 60 pounds.

• Tree debris, such as brush or twigs, should not stick out above the top of the container.

• If a resident had tree branches or a tree stump chipped, it is their responsibility to properly dispose of the chippings according to standard yard waste guidelines.

According to the city, disposal of larger limbs is the responsibility of the homeowner and may require hiring a contractor. Also, if residents use a trash can, it must be labeled with a yard waste sticker on both sides. Stickers are available for free at Farmington Hills City Hall and DPW.

Schueller shared his perspective as to the most important things for residents to know.

“If there is a tree issue within the public right of way, they should call the Division of Public Works to have that work taken care of,” he said. “I know the lines of where the right-of-way line is can be confusing in some areas. We’re talking generally those green belts inside the sidewalk, those type of areas — we’re responsible for that, and after every storm we’re out doing that work. So if there’s a resident that has a right-of-way tree that has an issue, they should definitely call the DPW so that we can schedule that work.”

Schueller discussed what steps residents should take when debris is on their own property.

“Then they may need to arrange for that themselves — either hire a contractor to do that work or take care of it themselves,” he said. “They are able to put yard waste debris out in lawn bags for collection on garbage day. … You do have to cut things up and put ’em in bags or labeled cans on your trash day. … If they’ve got bigger branches that they’re not able to cut up then they probably will have to have a contractor come out to assist them with that.”

Schueller also advised residents on the proper step to take if branches from a city tree fall onto a resident’s private property.

“Anything related to a city tree, we would be responding to that,” he said. “So if it was a city tree that branches blew off or whatever onto private property, or if a tree fell down and impacted property, that’s a city responsibility, so they would need to call us so we can get somebody out there, take some pictures if there was damage, and we would work then to remove the tree or the branch or whatever it may be if it’s a city tree within the right of way.”

Residential or business property owners can direct questions to the DPW at (248) 871-2850 or visit fhgov.com for more information.