County contracts for Matthew debris removal

Published 1:06 am Monday, October 17, 2016

The county has contracted with an out-of-state company to pick up hurricane debris, but it might take a few days to get the program rolling.

With Beaufort County’s inclusion in the FEMA disaster declaration for Hurricane Matthew, the county can provide roadside pick-up and collection of debris caused by the hurricane, according to a press release from county government. The collection will take place in the county and the municipalities of Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego and Washington Park. The City of Washington is handling its own debris removal, the release states.

Lisa Respess Williams said Thursday that crews with Southern Disaster Recovery were unable to travel because of flooding across eastern North Carolina, though SDR employees were surveying the county last week to assess the county’s needs.

“They’re ready to go, but they can’t get here. They have to travel on major roads, because they’re carrying major equipment with them,” Williams said Thursday. “It could possibly be as much as two weeks before they pick it up, because they have to have their resources.”

SDR will contract with local companies to assist in the process, Williams said.

“We will be using some of our local resources, which I think is great because they didn’t do that last time,” Williams said.

Residents with Hurricane Matthew-related debris are asked to pile it at the road right-of-way in front of their homes.

“All debris should be placed within the right-of-way, but well off the road, so as not to impede traffic or create unsafe driving conditions,” the press release states. “Do not place debris around mailboxes, driveway culverts, utility poles or utility meters.”

Williams said debris should be separated in two different piles: vegetative and all other.

All other debris, referred to as C&D, or construction and demolition, includes flood-damaged furniture, dry wall, curtains, mattresses, as well as shingles, studs, insulation and other structural materials damaged as a result of Hurricane Matthew, the release reads.

The county will only be picking up debris that was caused by Hurricane Matthew, and under the FEMA program, SDR is prohibited from picking up any debris deposited by another contractor.

Officials are asking residents to be patient as crews work to complete the roadside removal, and county solid-waste convenience sites are open if residents wish to dispose of the debris themselves.

Attempting to have other debris picked up is considered fraud and will be referred for criminal investigation, the press release states. For questions or to report suspected fraud, call Beaufort County Emergency Management at 252-946- 2046.