Officials set deadline for debris pickup

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 21, 2012

Brookhaven residents with storm debris they haven’t cleaned up yet need to get it to the curb by Sept. 29, said city officials.

     Public Works Director Steve Moreton said in order to get reimbursement for cleanup and removal of damage and debris caused by Hurricane Isaac, the city needs to collect whatever is left soon.

     “We’ve got to have a stopping date,” Moreton said. “FEMA wants to close this thing out.”

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     Limbs and other tree debris downed by high winds and rain during Hurricane Isaac and collected by the city will be chipped or ground up, Moreton said. Stumps in the public right of way will also be ground up, but Moreton warned that the city cannot and will not go onto private property to grind stumps.

     “If there’s a stump behind your fence, you’re responsible for that,” Moreton said.

     The majority of the costs of cleaning and chipping storm debris will be reimbursed to the city with FEMA covering 75 percent of the final bill, MEMA 12.5 percent and the city the remaining 12.5 percent.

     That’s why the Sept. 29 date is so important. Moreton said the city needs to be able to tabulate the final totals of collected material and the cost of disposal.

     “FEMA is requiring us to give a cutoff date so we can get this stuff chipped,” Moreton said.

     City solid waste collection will continue per usual after Sept. 29, but is not slated to receive any federal or state money to cover anything collected.

     However, one thing the city will stop doing after Sept. 29 is accepting free of charge downed trees that have been cut up.

     “If someone has a damaged tree from Hurricane Isaac in their yard and it gets cut up, the city will accept that at no charge until the 29th,” Moreton said.

     However, a resident has to arrange for the tree to be cut up and must provide transportation of the tree remnants to the landfill. City solid waste trucks won’t haul off trees and city work crews don’t trim or cut trees.

     Moreton warned, however, that this only applies to trees downed during the storm.

     “If it’s a tree in your yard you don’t want any more, we won’t touch those,” Moreton said.

     Crews have a good idea of what homes still have downed trees in their yard, so Moreton said he’ll be keeping a close eye on attempts to curtail the restrictions.

     Any tree remains brought to the landfill after Sept. 29 will incur charges of $20 a ton, Moreton said.

     Moreton believes city waste crews have already collected the majority of debris, but he said he’s still seen limbs and trees in people’s yards they haven’t touched yet.