Contractors were staging Wednesday morning preparing for the 45-day task of picking up storm debris throughout Columbia County.
County officials hired Ceres Environmental Services Inc., through a pre-event contract to collect debris left on the side of public and private roads.
“The debris is so massive, we have to help,” Columbia County Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker said late last week.
Columbia County commissioners voted Tuesday night to allow the county’s debris removal contractor, Ceres Environmental Services Inc., to pick up storm debris on private roads, which would include gated communities, such as Westlake. Commission Chairman Ron Cross the action was necessary to include these residents in the cleanup effort. Although the county does not maintain their streets, the homeowners do pay property taxes, he said.
Commissioners pointed out that the action would include all residents, including those who live private roads in the more rural areas of the county.
“This is a case where we had to make an exception because this was an exceptional situation,” Cross said.
The removal contractor will go through each area only once, so residents need to have their debris on the roadside as soon as possible, according to Tucker. Debris should be placed as close to the curb as possible without being in the street. Residents with long driveways need to put the debris on the main road.
Only limbs and trees up to 10 feet will be picked up.
Debris should not be placed in bags or anything else and the piles should not be stacked on anything such as fencing, mailboxes or yard ornaments. Piles containing other items including bags and construction materials will not be hauled away.
Tucker said anyone with issues of concerns about the contractor picking up debris should call the Emergency Operations Center at (7060 868-3303 by March 3. For more information, call the EOC or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.