IDOT disposing of Washington tornado debris

By WEEK Producer

December 3, 2013 Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 10:11 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- More than 2,000 tons of debris has been removed from the city of Washington.

But where does it all go?

Tree branches, lumber and other materials that are not toxic are being burned.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is using a specially designed incinerator to burn debris at high temperatures.

The machine lets off much less smoke than a traditional burn pile, leaving behind only a pile of ash, and some extra cash.

"It's going to save the citizens of Washington, and the federal government, a great deal of money because if you haul this amount of material into a landfill, it's quite a bit of money," said Mike McDermott.

After the debris is burned, the ashes are spread across fields, where they act as a fertilizer.