Area cities and counties are still working to dig out from underneath the mountains of debris left by Hurricane Sally more than two weeks ago.
The city of Mobile has contracted with DRC Emergency Services to help with its debris removal, following the storm. The company is tasked with picking up vegetation left by residents on the side of the streets, while city crews will pick up normal construction debris, city spokesperson Candace Cooksey wrote in an email message. Residents are still urged to separate the trash into three piles for easier pickup.
“We asked citizens to divide their storm debris in three piles: raw vegetation, construction debris and appliances, tires, etc,” Cooksey wrote. “DRC is only picking up the raw vegetation from the storm debris. City crews are picking up the other piles.”
The collected storm debris has been transported to one of three sites in Mobile, Cooksey said. The sites include The Grounds, Orange Grove and the site of the former GrEystone Christian School on Azalea Road.
“All three sites are just temporary through the debris-removal process and are only vegetation debris,” Cooksey wrote.
The collected debris will be ground into mulch, Cooksey confirmed. A grinder had already started the process at Graystone by Monday afternoon.
The DRC contract is based upon the amount of debris picked up, city spokesperson Jason Johnson said. The final dollar amount of the contract will not be available until all of the debris is picked up. The contract will be paid for with a mixture of city funds and FEMA money. Johnson said the contributions will break down to 25 percent city and 75 percent FEMA.
As of Monday, Mobile had picked just under 50 percent of the debris. Other cities are also using contractors to dig out from the storm.
The city of Fairhope in Baldwin County has removed $70,349 cubic yards of debris from city streets. That equals about 17 percent of the total, Fairhope Public Works Director Richard Johnson said.
“We should be right at 20 percent by the end of week two,” he wrote in an email.
Fairhope’s contract is with CrowderGulf, Johnson said, and like Mobile’s contract, is based on the amount picked up. The city paid $363,314 for more than 30,000 cubic yards collected in the first week of activation, according to a presentation released to Lagniappe by Johnson.
Mobile County has picked up a total of about 30,000 cubic yards, spokesperson Dena Pollard wrote in an email. That number breaks down to about 15,000 cubic yards from Dauphin Island and another 15,000 cubic yards from unincorporated portions of the county.
“We usually get updates on Fridays and last week was our first week,” Pollard wrote. “Crews are working continuously to pick up the debris.”
In a tweet Monday, Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency wrote there are currently 135 crews operating in the unincorporated areas of Baldwin County. Those trucks removed 51,399 yards of debris on Sunday alone and 7,686 loads in the last 10 days totaling 364,784 yards. Like Mobile, Baldwin County is also asking residents to separate vegetation and other construction debris for easier removal.
On Tuesday, the Baldwin County Commission also amended its disaster-debris contract with CrowderGulf to allow the company to pick up hazardous waste from households. The county’s contract, which was initially signed in 2018, pays the company based on the cubic yardage of debris moved and the distance it is transferred.
In Gulf Shores, the city reported crews and contractors have collected over 150,000 cubic yards of debris, out of the total estimated 400,000-plus cubic yards, since Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Reporter Gabriel Tynes contributed to this story.
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