A 2-acre, 20-foot-high pile of wood waste, will be chopped into smaller pieces and allowed to pack down.

The pile consists of logs and limbs picked up by the public works department from residents’ yards and city property.

Methods to reduce the size of the heap and dispose of the residue were discussed Jan. 22 and Mayor Jeff Palmore asked public works to compare the cost of burning the material with the cost of using a tub grinder.

The city looked at the cost to dig a pit and burn the waste wood, but determined it would cost more than having it reduced with a tub grinder, according to Public Works Commissioner Robert Brueggemann.

“We did get a permit for burning,” Brueggemann said. “But the pricing is clear, a tub grinder is our best option.”

Estimates showed that burning would cost more than using a grinder.

Aldermen approved an agreement with Hansen’s Tree Service, O’Fallon, to reduce the wood at a cost of $12,750. The firm will sift through the piles to separate out trash, rock and steel from the wood debris, grind up all the wood debris and leave the grindings.

The city will still have to dispose of the ground-up wood, which leaves pieces of wood that are larger than mulch, but would greatly reduce the size of the pile of waste wood, Brueggemann said.

“We’ll just pile it up and let it pack down,” he said. “It’ll take a couple of years.”

The city no longer adds picked up limbs to the Denton Road pile, Brueggemann noted. Current disposal of limbs collected around the city is to use the maintenance department chipper.

“Nothing has been dumped out there at the lagoon in the last four years,” he said.