City, county working on debris

Published 11:15 pm Monday, October 11, 2004

By By Michele Gerlach
About half of the debris left when Hurricane Ivan roared through Escambia County has been removed, and FEMA is covering 100 percent of the local costs through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
County Administrator Tony Sanks said Phillips and Jordan, the company with which the Army Corps of Engineers contracted to remove debris in Escambia County, reported Thursday afternoon they had removed 270,000 cubic yards of debris countywide.
"They estimate they have about that much left to go," Sanks said.
Most of the debris that has been removed was from the county's municipalities, he said.
The debris is being removed to four sites around the county, where some of it is being chipped and sold to Smurfit-Stone. In other places, the debris will eventually be burned, he said.
As of Thursday, Phillips and Jordan estimated that contractors had moved through 70 percent of Brewton and 80 percent of Atmore and were just getting into the more rural areas. They have done some work in Husford, Wawbeek and Canoe and on Hwy. 29 toward Covington County.
Generally, the contractors expect to make three passes through the county in populated areas.
"They said the rule of thumb was that about 10 days after the first pick-up, they would go back for a second," Sanks said. "There's no need to panic if someone hasn't seen them on day 11 or 12, but they hope to make a second pass in a 10 to 14 day range."
Sanks said the contractors are removing an average of 21,000 cubic yards of debris per day, and are adding more trucks to speed that process.
The contractors also are leaving stumps for last and will haul them on flatbed trucks.
Meanwhile, Escambia is one of three counties – along with Mobile and Butler – to have debris removal totally covered by FEMA. FEMA makes that determination within 72 hours after an emergency. All three covered counties had signed contracts with the Corps of Engineers by midnight, Sunday, Sept. 19.
As residents become increasingly anxious to have debris removed, city officials remind local residents that the debris should be on the right of way, not in drainage ditches or the streets.
Brewton City Clerk John Angel and Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said city officials were concerned that the debris already in drains and drainage ditches could cause flooding if heavy rains fall in this area.
They also reminded local residents that contractors hired to do repair work – including roofers – are responsible for hauling away debris related to their work.
Shell added that residents should not wait to bring their storm debris to the street for pickup. "I still see a lot of trees in back yards. The city doesn't have the equipment to pick that up," he said. "We need everyone to get their debris out for the Corps of Engineers to pick up, because they will be leaving soon."
Shell also said that the debris landfill is not taking construction debris at this time.

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