Kentucky (WKYT/WSAZ) – State efforts to clear out several counties in eastern Kentucky are coming to an end.
Crews from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet traversed seven counties clearing debris flood victims off the sides of county and state highways.
KYTC crews began clearing debris from Breathitt County roads in August. But heading into November, Jamie Mullins-Smith, co-chair of Breathitt County’s long-term recovery team, said there are still dozens of people struggling to clear their properties.
Debris removal is one of the area’s many needs, which Mullins-Smith says is not being fully met.
KYTC asked residents to put the debris on the road and collect it by November 1st. According to KYTC, the crew will spend the next two weeks making final rounds collecting debris in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties.
Mullins-Smith said many people in the county have left stakes on their property.
“We run into a lot of survivors who live on the other side of the creek, so if you’re going to move that debris across the creek, it’s essentially in the driveway,” Mullins-Smith said. . “Just like if they live on a hill, if you move the rubble to where a truck can reach it and get it, you’re in a dangerous situation.”
Mullins-Smith said that without state support, cleanup will be the responsibility of homeowners. So she’s looking for volunteers to help clear the debris.
About 150,000 tons of debris have been removed from roads so far, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet data. If the deadline is not met, officials say they can contact the financial court to discuss other ways to remove the debris.
Debris collected includes:
- Flood-damaged materials – Non-recyclable materials such as drywall, asphalt shingles, sinks, tubs and floor tiles. Non-recyclable building contents and personal items such as carpets, rugs, furniture and clothing.
- Electronic waste – electrical or electronic equipment such as televisions, computers, printers, radios and small appliances.
- Household hazardous waste – paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, pesticides. They should be in a secure container and should never leak. However, nothing can be put in the bag.
- Large appliances – stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, etc. Residents are warned to follow local government guidelines for refrigerator disposal. Refrigerators must be free of spoiled food when placed outdoors for pickup.
- Nutrients – debris from trees, branches, brushes, leaves.
Debris that is not eligible for pickup includes:
- Demolition material – When multiple walls of a building are standing and there is no imminent danger of collapse, it is considered demolition rather than debris. This includes demolished homes, mobile or manufactured homes, sheds, barns, shops, carports, and garages.
- Commercial Property Debris – For debris from business and commercial properties such as mobile home parks, industrial parks, cemeteries, apartment buildings, golf courses, etc.
- Debris on Private Property – Debris that is on private property and requires the crew to enter private property to collect it. This includes debris that does not pose an immediate threat to public health and safety.
- All kinds of bagged debris.
- general household waste and recyclables.
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