Long Beach alderman wants hurricane trash ordinance

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - We are still months away from the end of hurricane season and should a major hurricane bear down on the coast, a Long Beach aldermen believes damage caused by a neighbor's unsecured trash shouldn't be a worry.

Ward Five's Mark Lishen wants the city to pass an ordinance about requiring businesses and construction sites to take action before a hurricane hits.

When the tidal surge comes in, Lishen said dumpsters can turn into battering rams.

"The dumpsters are certainly something that when they begin to float can cause damage to adjacent property owners. We need to look at things like that," Lishen said. "When our fire chief asks that those things be removed prior to a storm and they're not and they float away and cause some damage, then we have problems."

To avoid problems from floating dumpsters or flying debris and building materials, Lishen said the city should pass a pre-disaster ordinance for businesses and construction sites. He admits right before Hurricane Isaac made landfall getting residential garbage picked up was also an issue.

Lishen said, "It should have been Advanced Waste's problem in that it was a Monday in one of their scheduled days to pick up trash. They did not come out, so I believe Monday morning or Monday afternoon our city crews went out and did that."

"It created an expense and concern for us in that it's not something that we normally have to deal with," Lishen said. "Those guys needed to be out making sandbags and cleaning storm inlets prior to the hurricane. Not picking up someone else's trash."

Right now, Lishen's proposal doesn't penalize homeowners who leave out trash and debris ahead of a hurricane, but he said that could change.

"With Waste Pro coming in, I think we want to take a look at them. See what their policy is for doing residential pickup prior to a disaster. But depending on what their answer is, then we may need to go one beyond that and have some sort of ordinance in place that restricts people from putting out a lot of debris prior to an event," Lishen said.

He said some cities along the East Coast already have similar ordinances.

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