Gardeners, clean out your pickup trucks. Lawrence's not-quite-annual compost giveaway starts Thursday and ends Saturday.
"We're telling people to come early because there's a chance we'll run out," said Diana Sjogren, a waste reduction and recycling specialist for the city.
Last year, the city gave away more than 1,000 cubic yards of compost; this year, it will distribute about 700 cubic yards.
Sjogren blamed the reduction on three factors:
¢ Less carryover from the previous year.
¢ Higher use by city crews.
¢ Quantities being set aside after potentially harmful levels of Clopyralid, a broadleaf herbicide often used on lawns, were detected.
"Everything that's in the giveaway has been tested and can be used without adverse effect," Sjogren said.
Since 2003, city officials have asked property owners not to use - and retailers not to stock - products that contain Clopyralid.
"Unfortunately, it's still finding its way into the (composting) facility," Sjogren said.
Giveaways in 2003 and 2004 were canceled, she said, after "unacceptable" levels of Clopyralid were detected.
The city will distribute free compost from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 1420 E. 11th St. A front-end loader will be available to load pickup trucks or trailers.
"When it's over 10 parts per billion, there's concern," Sjogren said. In 2003's compost supply, Clopyralid was detected at a rate of 55 parts per billion.
"There's a margin of error, but what's out there now has tested out at five to seven parts per billion," Sjogren said. It's been tested on live plants as well.
"It's safe," she said. "We wouldn't give it away if it wasn't."
Clopyralid degrades over time.
The city's compost is made from more than 9,000 tons of leaves and grass clippings collected throughout the spring, summer and fall.
The city's forestry division will have its annual mulch sale - $5 per pickup load - from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 6 and 7 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 8 at 1420 E. 11th St.