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Escambia, Santa Rosa Tackling Post-Storm Debris

Photo courtesy www.operationblessing.org

Dump trucks are making regular trips to and from landfills in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, discarding massive amounts of storm-related debris collected from area residences.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority has about 20 crews out picking up the storm debris. As the flood waters in many areas began to recede, ECUA began their work on May 4 in the Bristol Park subdivision.

This is in addition to ECUA’s regular weekly bulk waste collection, during which customers are not required to call ahead for pickup if they put it out on their regular day for garbage collection. Bowers says for now, they’re hauling away “all sorts of different stuff.”

“Our crews are sorting out appliances and metal for recycling,” said Bowers. “They’re working long hours, from dawn to dusk, and we’ve to date (May 13) picked up 1,600 tons and that’s climbing, of course.”

In Santa Rosa County, Public Information Officer Joy Tsubooka says they’re collecting from the county’s unincorporated zones. Residents in those areas are being asked to sort their debris beforehand.

“Furniture, carpet, tile, steel, glass – we call that ‘C and D’,” said Tsubooka. “And then, white goods – washers, dryers and refrigerators. And then in another group, we need you to put your electronics – TVs, computers, monitors, (and) fax machines.”

The debris also must be left on the public right of way – generally speaking, the area between the power pole and the curb. There are items that are not allowed, and will not be picked up – starting with household garbage and yard debris and including household hazardous waste: paint, gasoline, antifreeze, pesticides and batteries.

ECUA customers with flood-related waste can call 476-0480. Spokeswoman Nathalie Bowers cautions that they’re running late with their regular and bulk trash pickups because of the extra work.

One common problem that debris collection groups – both governmental and private – are facing is the shutdown West Florida Recycling. The area’s recycling operation is padlocked because of financial problems.