Fewer trucks in St. Augustine to pick up hurricane debris

Crews are working seven days a week, and city trucks are also working to remove debris. Grant hopes to get more trucks on line by next week.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - When a garbage truck pulls into a neighborhood street lined with hurricane trash, you can almost hear a little cheer.

Some of the debris in St. Augustine has been sitting there for three weeks since Hurricane Irma stormed through Florida.

"I'd ask for patience. We're doing the best we can," said Todd Grant with the St. Augustine Public Works Department.

St. Augustine, like other Florida cities, is running into a slower paced pick-up situation right now. That's because the city has a contract with a trash removal company to pick up debris after events such as hurricanes.

However, it's a national company and its resources have been spread thin after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"Being that Texas was affected and the entire State of Forida was impacted, resources for the removal trucks is limited," Grant explained.

He noted there are only seven trucks working to pick up debris in the city of St. Augustine, when he'd like to have twice that amount.

"I've spread the resources out so at least we're touching and giving some attention to every neighborhood rather than focusing on one," Grant said.

When it comes to the kind of debris that needs to be picked up, there's a lot more vegetative debris after Irma than there was after Matthew. After Matthew, there were a lot more construction debris and debris from inside homes.

"Irma was very windy for a long time, so we have a lot of vegetative debris on the ground," he said.

Crews are working seven days a week, and city trucks are also working to remove debris.  Grant hopes to get more trucks on line by next week.

"10 to 14 weeks from this point, the majority of debris will be gone," he said.

Even with fewer trucks working right now, he said getting everything removed will take about the same amount of time as it did with Matthew. Grant said that's partly because it's easier to pick up vegetative debris, which is the majority of what's in piles, up and down neighborhood streets.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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