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The city of Rochester is trying out a new pilot program that will safely dispose of tree branches and other waste from city-owned land.

If you've ever had a tree or shrub blown over or fall down in your yard, you know what kind of mess it can create. Heck, trees and shrubs that are still standing create a lot of sticks, branches, and leaves that need to be disposed of too.

Now imagine having to dispose of all of the sticks, branches, and other waste that happens on all of the land the city of Rochester owns. That's why the city has just started a new pilot program to safely dispose of all that waste.

Technically, that waste is actually referred to as 'woody debris,' and according to a news release from the city of Rochester, a big, 45-ton pile of it is going to be... burned. But not open-burned-- the way you or I might burn leaves in the fall. (And the way that generates a lot of smoke and waste.)

The city says this new pilot program is a joint project with Hathaway Tree Service and uses a new high-tech, whiz-bang Air Burner S223, which takes care of all that debris in an environmentally-friendly way:

The Air Burner S223 used in this operational pilot is specifically designed to burn wood and vegetative waste quickly and cleanly using very high temperatures. It burns at a much faster rate than open burning, and also eliminates most of the smoke created during the process . The final result is a clean carbon ash that can be mixed with compost soil or used on agricultural fields.

The city also says the new air burner has special equipment which captures carbon and reduces carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, thus helping to keep Rochester on track to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

Here's the thing, though: Right now, the pilot program, which is taking place at Kalmar Reservoir 6, IS NOT open to the public-- it's only being used on waste from city-owned lands. But, who knows, if it works as slick as they're hoping, a permanent facility could be coming for the city to use.

Speaking of Rochester, how well do you know Minnesota's Med City? Keep scrolling to see how many landmarks you can recognize... from above!

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