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Corps cleanup could get under way by week’s end

Brookhaven officials expect U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-leddebris cleanup to begin in a few days following a meeting Mondaywith Mayor Bob Massengill.

“If everything goes as planned, they should begin before the endof this week,” Massengill said.

Massengill met Monday with representatives of the Corps’Emergency Operations teams to discuss debris removal plans.

“A site at the city landfill has been OK’d by the Corps ofEngineers,” Massengill said. “It previously had been accepted by(the state Department of Environmental Quality).”

Lincoln County supervisors were meeting this morning with Corpsofficials to discuss clean up plans.

County Administrator David Fields acknowledged small debriscleanup in some areas. For the most part, though, he said thecounty lacked the necessary equipment and also wanted to havecleanup costs covered by FEMA.

At the landfill, Massengill said a large machine will grinddebris, even stumps, into chips. Because of that, only about aseven-acre site is needed instead of the 40- to 50-acre siteoriginally requested.

Also, an inspection tower will be built at the landfill toreview loads as they come in. The debris disposal site was amongitems requested last week by Corps representatives.

Also requested last week was a list of local contractors tohandle the cleanup. Massengill said 18 were on the list.

“My hope is lot of local contractors will get this work, but thecity has nothing to do with that,” said Massengill, explaining thatprimary contractor Ash-Britt will oversee the work,

Massengill said vegetative debris, such as leaves and limbs,will be collected first. He said contractors will get debris at thecurb on their first pass.

“Everything is to be moved as close to the curb as possible,”said Massengill, who added that the debris should not be in thestreets and blocking roads.

Massengill said crews will eventually get to stumps and otheritems.

“That is going to be done, but it’s going to be done after otherdebris is removed,” the mayor said.

Massengill said shingles, wood siding and similar items will bepicked up last. He stressed those should be placed in a separatepile from limbs and leaves.

If piles are not clean and separated, the mayor said, they willnot be picked up. He indicated that mixed piles create problemswith disposal at the landfill.

“They just can’t put it out that way and expect it to be pickedup,” Massengill said. “It has to be separated.”

Massengill said the cleanup could take at least a month.

“Based on what I’ve heard from other places, it takes longerthan that,” Massengill said.

Massengill said he understands everybody is anxious to havedebris removed. However, much of it is too large for city crews tohandle and that is the reason for going through the Corps.

Unless an extension is approved, the mayor said work has to bedone by Oct. 28., which is 60 days from the date of the hurricane.After that, instead of 100 percent, FEMA will only cover 75 percentof costs, with the city responsible for the remainder.

“Our desire is to get it done as quickly as possible,”Massengill said.