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City to give storm debris collection update soon

Posted on Oct 13, 2016

By Pat Dowling
City crews have worked since Sunday morning, Oct. 9, to open streets and remove debris (fallen trees and other materials) from public rights-of-way. Road clearing operations (emergency protective measures) are only allowed on public roads under FEMA guidelines, and the city was on schedule to complete those operations by Oct. 11. It is important that they get this work done because there is a 72-hour window starting from the end of a hurricane for inclusion of these efforts (time and materials) for potential reimbursement to the city by FEMA.
Crews have also been working to clear public parks, which hold many downed trees and branches.
The city is running its normal collection schedule for garbage and recycling, however, they are not running the normal yard waste collection route since these crews must continue to assist with the road clearing operation until it is done. They are aware that property owners have placed lots of yard debris at curbside after the initial road clearing operations passed by, and be assured that the city will pick up this debris as soon as they can get to it over the next few weeks.
Currently, the city is not going to collect the large quantities of homeowner-placed storm debris until the following issues are confirmed for them at the county level:
1. A Disaster declaration;
2. A Debris removal contractor;
3. A Debris management site.
Once these issues are decided (there are protocols and procedures the county must follow, some of which are beyond its immediate control), the city will initiate its plan for collection of storm-generated debris placed at curbside by private property owners, and the city will communicate their schedule to you.
Some have asked why city crews have “skipped” some trees that fell in some rights-of-way. Those trees actually came down on power lines and the lines are still entwined in the trees. Santee Cooper must first remove the power lines from those trees, and then the city crews will remove the trees from the rights-of-way. Of course, Santee Cooper is working hard with its own and many outside crews to restore power everywhere.
In instances where trees have fallen on private power lines, neither property owners or contractors should attempt tree removal. Contact Santee Cooper and inform them of the situation.

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