MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – After two major storms hit Westchester in 2011, the town of Mount Pleasant is still recovering from the damage left.
“After Irene hit, it took us a month almost two to clean up and get back to normal,” said Peter Sciliano, Highway Superintendent for the Mount Pleasant Highway Department. “And then we had that winter storm in October which was worse and we’re still working on clean up.”
When tropical storm Irene hit in late August, residents in Mount Pleasant and throughout Westchester were left without power in the aftermath as many trees and branches knocked down power lines. Then in October, a surprise winter storm once again left thousands without power and fallen trees scattered across yards and roadways. It’s the highway department’s responsibility to make sure all the roads and debris were cleaned up as they asked residents to pile up storm remains on their roadside for pickup.
However, as Pleasantville Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer noted shortly after Irene passed, the cleanup process for most fallen trees was delayed as the debris was located near live power wires.
“The downed wires are still energized so we're trying to tell people to not touch the trees and to keep a distance," Dwyer said in August.
On top of waiting for Con Edison to clear power lines, the Mount Pleasant highway department is responsible for a large area that includes parts of Pleasantville, Chappaqua, Briarcliff, Sleepy Hollow and Pocantico Hills. This required the department to sometimes seek help elsewhere after the winter storm.
“Right now we have our whole crew working and then we’re getting help from the rec department, the water department and our traffic and safety department,” Sciliano said.
Sciliano said that it should be another two weeks until all is restored back to normal but that another storm during that time span could send them back to square one. Also, he added that at some households, it’s not just storm debris that is left for pickup.
“I don’t want to say that some people are taking advantage of the process but we’re picking up a lot of things from yard clean ups as well,” Sciliano said. “People cutting branches or bushes and things like that, which is slowing the process.”