The smell is gone for good

What once was a stinky reminder of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma has finally left the University. The mulch pile that once sat on the outskirts of the Coral Gables campus is now spread out on the ground near Homestead.

Dan Keys, Coral Gables director of public service, said that the mulch is now a part of an agricultural field in Homestead, where it is being used as “an organic amendment to the soil.”

Now that the mulch is gone, along with its pungent scent, the once-grassy green area is now brown.

The city has a contract with Grubs Emergency Services, Inc., to re-sod the area near Pearson Residential College and Granada Boulevard, where the mulch pile previously stood.

The process is already underway, Keys said, and he expects the work to be done within “a couple of weeks.”

“Grubs has to first disc and grade the five acres affected in the location,” Keys said. “Then [they have to] remove any large branches before the actual re-sodding can begin.”

The area near Pearson and Granada is the only location at the University that the city is responsible for, Keys said.

As of Friday, the five-acre area had been graded, making the rocky soil flat.

Keys said he did not know of any reports of gas emitted from the mulch pile. Due to the composting of the mulch, it is possible that methane gas could build up and be released when the pile was removed. But Keys said the it left no harmful effects and that the mulch was just mulch.

The UM cleanup is part of Coral Gables’ plan to clear and re-sod all hurricane-damaged grass areas in the city. The entire project will cost the Coral Gables about $190,000.

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