THE clean up from ex-cyclone Oswald began in earnest from Monday this week, with Lismore City Council staff picking up green waste left by residents along kerbsides throughout the local government area.
Urban works engineer Dean Baldwin said he expected the effort to cost the council $150,000 which would be funded under the council's flood program.
The Echo caught up with outdoor staff along Wanda Drive, where gum tree limbs and Grevillia branches were scooped up with the front bucket of a backhoe and heaved aboard a tip truck, bound for the Wyrallah Road council tip.
There the waste will be mulched into a garden soil, turned and worked over a period of three months to create a rich humus, terrific as a soil conditioner and available to the public for $35 a cubic metre.
Wanda Drive residents Scott Moore and Wendy Kennedy were thrilled with the council effort to provide a free clean up.
"They really have been good about it," said Scott, who described ex-Oswald's ferocity as remarkable.
The fact that Wanda Drive is perched atop the high ridge behind the Lismore Golf Club made it particularly prone to attack from the storm and many trees and limbs were felled.
Tip truck driver Glen Thompson and backhoe operator Peter Jensen reflected on the fact that the clean-up effort had only just begun, despite days of clearing roadways.
In fact, after just one day of green waste pick-ups, staff were certain that the effort would take longer than first expected.
"I'd say it will take a fortnight worth of work," Mr Baldwin said. "There is a lot of green waste, especially on the ridges.
"We were hoping to get through Goonellabah and Lismore Heights in two days but it will be more like four days."
Mr Baldwin also said not all the waste could be mulched for garden use, with weed species like coral trees and lantana needing to be separated.
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