Approaches to clearing piles of debris from Hurricane Ian will soon change in Naples and elsewhere in Collier County.
The contractors hired by the county initially focused on areas of high flooding, such as Gulf Shore Boulevard in the city, but soon shifted to routes and grid patterns for street collection.
Construction and demolition debris were the primary targets, but as that front moves forward, the heaps of landscaping along the streets gain more attention and begin to disappear.
So-called ‘white goods’, i.e. appliances such as stoves, refrigerators and water heaters, may take longer.
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The city’s interim chief of public utilities, Michelle Baines, shared the update during a discussion on Ian’s recovery at the city council on Monday.
So far, contractor AshBritt Inc. has removed 228,313 cubic yards of debris in the city alone. About 160,000 pieces of construction and demolition waste and his 68,000 pieces of plants. This equates to more than 4,300 truck wrecks.
In a short presentation, Baines reminded members of Congress, residents and other property owners that the debris removal has been underway for less than four weeks.
“We know it feels like a lifetime for many.
The initial focus was on health and safety, with priority given to clearing debris from streets, storm drains and parking lots, Baines said.
Contractors are now working to complete the first pass of all areas with Hurricane Debris while addressing any issues that arise before moving to a more patterned and predictable approach.
“We run down the street every day,” Baines said.
Without the county’s help, Bob Middleton, the city’s interim head of roads and stormwater, said, “This work will be delayed for months.”
“The concern is how fast we can go,” he said. “Compared to previous storms, it’s moving at a very fast pace on record.”
More than 200 trucks are working seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to clean up the city and county as quickly and safely as possible, according to the county’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Division. Chief Kari Hodgson said.
The goal remains the same, to reach “substantial completion” by Thanksgiving, which is less than a month away.
“We are dedicated to reclaiming paradise,” said Hodgson.
Contractors remove 20,000 to 30,000 cubic yards of debris per day countywide.
“They’ve seen a lot of flood scenarios, which means they’ve had experience,” Hodgson said.
Countywide, more than 864,000 cubic yards of debris have been removed to date. That’s enough to fill over 261 Olympic-sized pools.
Cities have the largest share of that total, but North Naples comes in second with more than 213,604 cubic yards of debris collected so far.
Some residents have complained that they were overlooked, but Hodgson said there was likely a good reason for that: low drooping trees blocked piles or were near power lines. Placed too much. Waste, furniture, other bulky waste, electrical appliances, construction and demolition materials.
“We will be back,” said Hodgson. “It’s not over yet.”
She said that as winter residents return over the next few months, the county will begin to deal with the extensive damage caused by Ian, so the county will see the end of a new wave of waste on city curbs and elsewhere. I acknowledge that I may see
However, she stressed that the contractor “hangs around as long as we need to” until the job is done.
There is currently no deadline for the cleanup work, which is expected to be completed early next year.
To see the county’s real-time debris removal dashboard, visit colliercountyfl.gov/government/public-utilities/solid-hazardous-waste/hurricane-preparedness.