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September 13th - Public Works’ special response to the May 21 derecho

Future updates and communications related to the derecho recovery will be shared on the City’s storm recovery webpage.


Over the last four months, Public Works has been dedicated to storm recovery, requiring an unprecedented level of effort. Since the May 21 derecho storm, Public Works has completed the following:

  • Removed approximately 260 tons of organic waste through a green bin blitz;

  • Repaired approximately 175 signalized intersections and over 650 traffic signs;

  • Inspected and collected storm-related debris, including thousands of damaged trees, along over 10,000 lane-km of roadways; and

  • Removed storm and tree-related damage in over 500 parks.

With the collective efforts of our communities, the City, and other levels of government, Ottawa is in a position to move out of storm response. As communicated in our memo of August 18, Public Works will be ending special response efforts and will return to normal operations on September 16, 2022.


Curbside Debris Collection

As the demand for large debris removal has decreased and Public Works starts preparing for fall and winter operations, the removal of storm-related tree debris and organic waste will return to regular leaf and yard waste collection on September 16. Residents who still have storm related debris can continue bringing it to the curb, however that collection will occur through our regular weekly organic waste collection program.


Residents must bundle and bag their leaf and yard waste appropriately as identified on the City of Ottawa website. Here are some important things to remember when bringing waste to the curb:


  • Only use compostable paper yard waste bags, a garbage can or cardboard boxes when setting out leaf and yard waste for collection

  • Ensure containers and bundles are no more than 15 kg (33 lb.) in weight

  • Extra leaf and yard waste goes in the green bin

  • Branches are to be tied in bundles of less than 1.2 m (4 ft.) in length and 60 cm (2 ft.) in width

  • Individual branches should be less than 10 cm (4 in.) in diameter

  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn.

  • All leaf and yard waste must be bundled using biodegradable material. Twine or string is the best option. Wire, duct tape and plastic twine will not biodegrade.

Woodchip Distribution

Since the storm hit in May, tree debris has been stored at Public Works facilities and

snow disposal sites across the city. That debris has been made into woodchips and will

continue to be given away free of charge until September 16.


Since beginning woodchip distribution on July 8, approximately 75,000 garden mulch

bags of woodchips have been reclaimed at these sites, creating a beneficial reuse of

tree debris from the May 21 storm.


Tree Planting

Many City trees adjacent to residents’ properties were removed as a result of the storm.

The City is committed to re-establishing the lost tree canopy by re-planting lost City

trees. Residents who would like a tree replacement on the City’s right of way are

encouraged to request it through the Trees in Trust program. The re-planting of lost City

trees does not automatically take place. The program requires coordination with the

property owner for the location, tree species selection, and watering. Requests received

through the Trees in Trust program will be added to next year’s planting program.

Staff are looking at options to expand tree plantings in 2023, including partnership

opportunities and support for planting on private property. Residents should also note

that tree planting is a separate operation from stump removal and will not take place at

the same time.


Stump Removal

Forestry Services continues to work on the process for the removal of approximately

450 uprooted stumps and the reinstatement of the leftover portion of the lawn on City

right of ways. Residents with uprooted stumps on the City right of way adjacent to their

properties have or will soon receive a letter from the City to notify them that their stump

is on the list for planned removal and expected next steps. This work will start this fall

and will extend into 2023.


There are also over 2,000 intact stumps remaining after storm-related City tree

removals. As priority is being given to uprooted stumps, intact stumps will be addressed

in 2023, from spring to fall.


Returning to Regular Operations

Supporting the derecho storm clean-up efforts required re-directing a significant amount of Public Works staff from regular operations to storm response. This re-deployment has created a backlog in some of our operations such as concrete repair, repairs and general maintenance of catch basins, water valves, etc. Some of this work will carry over into 2023, as Public Works is focused on transitioning to winter operations. Although most staff will be returning to regular operations, it will take some time for the department to catch up on these items and we appreciate residents’ ongoing support.


Forestry Operations will continue to prioritize the removal and clean-up of the large number of trees damaged by the storm and hope to return to pruning and preventative maintenance in the spring/summer of 2023.

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