Monday, May 24, 2010

Nashville won't pick up debris from recovery work

By Jenny Upchurch • THE TENNESSEAN • May 24, 2010 Flood debris and trash are likely to remain on Nashville's streets and in temporary holding spots through mid-June at least. And Metro warns that recovery debris, such as scraps from putting up new drywall or installing floors, cannot be put out for pickup. Monitors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are riding on trucks and documenting debris with photographs, Frazier said. "FEMA will only reimburse for collection and disposal of flood debris," said Veronica Frazier, head of Metro Beautification of the Public Works Department. "If we go outside those parameters, it will be Metro's expense." Metro has signed contracts with two companies for debris removal that will be about $9 million. So far, more than 100 trucks from Metro's Public Works department and private contractors it has hired have removed 31,000 tons of flood debris. That would fill almost 900 large roll-off containers. If they were stacked end-to-end, the line would stretch for four miles. But when pickup is completed, that comparison will stretch to 50 miles, Frazier said. Within days after the floods May 1-2, owners and volunteers throughout the county were carting soaked furnishings, appliances, carpet and drywall out of buildings. Metro directed them to place debris by the side of streets and organized a massive free pickup. Trucks rolled out May 11, concentrating on areas, such as Bellevue, where the most structures had been damaged. It may take weeks In areas where only one or a few homes had damage, Frazier said, trucks may take days or weeks to arrive. "We know it's hard to be patient when you're in this situation," Frazier said. More than one truck may come to one address. Metro has asked that the debris be separated. Debris from demolition such as drywall and carpet is being taken to two landfills owned by Southern Services Inc. Appliances will have their refrigerants removed and taken to a recycler. Red River Ranch, the mulch contractor at the Bordeaux Mulch Facility, will pick up limbs and other brush. The rest of the debris, such as furniture, will go to BFI's landfill in Murfreesboro. To speed up pickup, trucks are taking loads to two temporary collection spots. They are at Mainstream Drive in Metro Center and off Pulley Road near the airport. A third, at Edwin Warner Park, is closed and the debris is being removed. Materials will be sorted there and taken to recycling or disposal sites. If possible, household hazardous waste such as compact fluorescent bulbs and chemicals such as pesticides and cleaners should be separated. That also includes lead paint. But Frazier said that if people have latex paint, it is acceptable to open the can and dry it out or mix in cat litter or sawdust and bag those and put them in the regular trash. "Bagging up small containers — plastic bottles, cans — will help the crews pick it up" with the giant robotic claw, she said. Otherwise, the claw may squash or pierce containers and spew contents into the yard. No scavenging, she said. "People must stay out of these piles. There are so many shards of glass and nails."

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