Debris removal progresses, but a lot is left to be picked up

Saturday, March 8, 2014 12:55 AM
Last updated 1:10 AM
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HOW’S IT GOING?

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Mike Svacina, of DTAK in New London, Wis., worked to move debris into a pile along a portion of Milledge Road on Friday while his co-worker Randy Rychlock collected it.  CHRIS THELEN/SPECIAL
CHRIS THELEN/SPECIAL
Mike Svacina, of DTAK in New London, Wis., worked to move debris into a pile along a portion of Milledge Road on Friday while his co-worker Randy Rychlock collected it.

According to the latest estimates, crews in Richmond County have collected roughly 66 percent of the 350,000 cubic yards of debris left by February’s ice storm. In Columbia County, about 60 percent of the 400,000 cubic yards of debris has been collected.

WHEN WILL IT END?

The deadline for debris removal for the Augusta area is April 5.

Crews will do a second pass through Co­lum­bia County beginning March 17, said Emergency Operations Director Pam Tucker. She said there is no guarantee that debris put on the side of the road after March 17 will be collected.

In Richmond County, solid waste crews are operating on normal schedules and picking up small piles of storm debris, with contract crews removing larger piles. Augusta officials reminded residents that neighborhoods might not be cleared all at once, but that trucks will return.

WHAT ABOUT BURNING?

Residents in Richmond and Columbia counties can contact the Georgia Forestry Service at (706) 556-3962 to request permits to legally burn debris.

Debris that is covered and secured can be discarded at the Richmond County landfill in Blythe at 4330 Deans Bridge Road for $16.75 per ton.

Columbia County does not have a landfill, but a private business on Columbia Road will accept tree and limb debris for a fee.

WHO’S ON THE STREETS?

Reports show there are 58 hauling units and 44 bucket trucks clearing debris in Richmond County. In Columbia County, 67 haul units and eight bucket trucks are working the streets. Tucker said that by Monday, 20 bucket trucks will be in Columbia County to speed up the cutting of hanging limbs and leaning trees.

WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?

The volume of debris is the primary challenge crews are facing across the area, said Steve Cassell, Augusta’s assistant director of traffic engineering. In Richmond County, crews have removed 11,124 hanging limbs. In Columbia County, workers have cleared more than 5,800 hanging limbs.

WHAT’S PICKED UP?

The length of limbs and the height of debris stacks are not of particular concern to crews, but directors said if trees and limbs can be cut to 10 feet long, that’s helpful.

Debris in plastic bags will not be collected. All loads should be placed where residents normally put their trash, and not be blocked by vehicles, placed in ditches or where they interfere with traffic flow.

WHAT ABOUT AFTER APRIL 5?

To schedule a pickup for a house that is missed after the April 5 deadline, Columbia County residents can e-mail emergency
management@columbiacountyga.gov. Rich­mond County residents can call 311, the county’s customer service line.

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