Cleaning the mess

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, September 30, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
The cleanup process has begun in earnest around Escambia County. Late last week, all five cities in Escambia County signed a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for debris cleanup.
Trucks were on the streets of Atmore Monday morning, beginning the process of removing the piles of tree limbs and cut tree trunks from the sides of city streets.
The Corps has also set up a landfill for tree and plant debris on AL 21 north of Fountain Correctional Facility.
The landfill is only open to tree and plant debris, and is open to private citizens and independent contractors. The landfill is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
The city is asking all residents to separate their debris into different categories. The first sweep of debris removal ais for tree and plant debris only. Building materials will be picked up at a later date.
City officials warned that if residents don't separate construction debris from the tree and plant debris, crews will leave the pile sitting where it is. City officials also asked residents to avoid putting storm debris in or near stormwater drains. "We have so much debris now, if it's blocking the drains and we have a heavy rain, we'll see serious flooding in the city," said Mayor Howard Shell.
A burn ban is also in effect for the city, residents are not allowed to burn their debris inside the city.
Since the hurricane, cleanup help has arrived from many points around the area. Church groups have been the most prominent volunteers in the Atmore area. A group of Mennonites has been working since the hurricane to help clear trees from homes and clean up residences. "I think if you gave the Mennonites enough help and an hour, they could change the course of the Mississippi," said Public Safety Director Glenn Carlee. "They've been phenomenal."
Other church groups from Mobile, Fairhope and other areas have also come to help clear debris.
"We're getting awfully good support from everyone," Shell said. Banners have been posted at the entrances to the city thanking the relief workers for their efforts. Some business and homeowners have also posted their own signs thanking those who volunteered and helped the city.
The city has also resumed its normal household garbage collection schedule. A truck will still be available at city hall to receive household garbage if residents need to make a special trip.

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