Corps to start debris cleanup

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The U. S. Army Corp of Engineers contractor, Phillips and Jordan, will begin debris cleanup in Greenville and Butler County starting some time this weekend, according to Corps Debris Mission Manager Paul Zorko.

The debris cleanup was assigned to the Corps by the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) after Hurricane Ivan tore through south Alabama Thursday, devastating many parts of Butler County, including Greenville.

&uot;Our mission is to clear roads and rights of way,&uot; Zorko said. &uot;First, we ensure that emergency vehicles and traffic can have clear passage, then we clean up storm debris placed on public rights of ways.&uot;

The public is encouraged to place debris from their homes and yards on public rights of ways for pickup.

&uot;We can’t come onto people’s private property,&uot; Zorko said. &uot;Please bring your debris to the edge of the road where it will be easy to pick up but not impede traffic flow.&uot;

With so many types of debris including trees, shingles and bricks, the Corps is asking the public not to stack it all together.

&uot;You should separate the debris into three piles,&uot; Zorko said. &uot;Make one pile for branches and other vegetative matter, a second pile for building materials and a third for household debris.&uot;

The garbage that would normally be collected by your local waste management should be put out for collection on the same schedule as usual.

Zorko said the contractor will make two passes through the city and county, so if you have not completely cleaned up prior to the first pass, you may place debris on the right of way a second time.

&uot;We will notify people of our second pass at a later date,&uot; he said.

Small businesses and independent contractors interested in subcontracting to the Corps contractor, Phillips and Jordan, may call their 24-hour information line at 813-783-1132 or go on line at

&uot;The debris management job will include collecting debris, separating it into different types of waste, reducing the waste and making final disposal,&uot; Zorko said. &uot;We will have Corps Quality Assurance workers on the ground supervising the contractor operation. We appreciate this opportunity to help the people of Alabama.&uot;

Butler County Engineer Dennis McCall said it is unknown exactly when the debris would be picked up in the county areas or where it would be taken, but encouraged residents to move it to the road if possible.

&uot;Until we have those designated sites established they can just put it by the right of way,&uot; McCall said. &uot;From there the clean up can be handled. If they can get it to the right of way that is good.&uot;

McCall said the county was in the process of establishing a drop point for the debris once it is picked up. He said they would have multiple locations to store the debris until it is burned.

&uot;We are looking at having one in Greenville, one north of Greenville, one on Pettibone and one in Georgiana,&uot; McCall said. &uot;We’re in the process of getting permits in order to do that.&uot;

Those who do not wish to wait for pickup have an immediate alternative. They can drop their debris off at the Greenville Landfill on Highway 31.

For those who do not wish to go to this trouble, their best plan is to get the debris to the right of way until pickup begins.

Georgiana City Clerk Barbara Clem asked that people remember the pickup is only for weed and debris. Other trash pickups will remain on their usual schedule and should not be mixed in.

&uot;People need to be careful not to mix metal, cardboard and other items in with the debris,&uot; Clem said. &uot;It all needs to be separated.&uot;

Clem said mixing in household garbage could result in damaging the equipment that was sent to help.

&uot;There is probably going to be chipping involved,&uot; she said. &uot;Whenever chippers are used they can be damaged by things like metal that get mixed in there. People need to remember to keep those things separate.&uot;

According to Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, who initiated a call to the state Emergency Management Authority on Sunday looking for answers, the city and county will not have to bear any of the usual cost of the cleanup.

&uot;I called (EMA) and they said Butler County was not on the list of counties to receive help,&uot; McLendon said. &uot;I immediately made a call to the governor’s office and (EMA) realized their mistake.&uot;

McLendon said because he asked for help within 72 hours of the natural disaster, the city and county will not have to pay the usual 15 percent cleanup fee they would have had to pay once the 72 hour window had closed.

Originally the order was written to only include Greenville in the cleanup, but it was amended to include Butler County as well, something that will save the county thousands of dollars.

&uot;Working together we were able to get the city, county, Georgiana and McKenzie covered at 100 percent,&uot; McLendon said. &uot;Otherwise our citizens and those outside the city limits would have had to pay an enormous amount because of the sheer volume of cleanup that is needed.&uot;

McLendon said that Director of Public Works Milton Luckie would be the city’s contact person for people who had questions about debris pickup. Luckie can be reached at the pubic works office at 382-8271.