Huge Piles Of Debris Fill Hancock County

The pickup in Hancock County starts in storm battered neighborhoods like those in Waveland. Crews fill up trailers with what used to be pieces of peoples lives and haul them to a state approved dump site in the Kiln.

Rusty Retherford of the Corps of Engineers says, "We like to segregate the construction demolition debris, so therefore we're handling the household waste and the toxic hazardous waste in accordance with EPA regulations and then also with the vegetative debris. We reduce that vegetative debris by burning that."

Getting rid of all the stuff a huge task in Hancock County alone.

"In Hancock County, we're talking about 7 million cubic yards of material that will be removed off the right of way," says Retherford.

For that, the Corps needs lots of disposal space.

"Most of our sites need to be a minimum of 20 acres. We like to have at least a 60 to 100 acre site to actually do the separation and reduction that we need to do so we don't take up all the landfill space for the state of Mississippi."

FEMA is coordinating the cleanup, but is leaving the actual debris removal to the Corps.

FEMA Public Information Officer Stan Cramer says, "We were aware of the widespread devastation that was occurring and we knew it would take a response from the federal government that has never been needed before, a massive response. They can respond immediately. They're already geared up. They can get the equipment and the manpower in place and start having an impact on cleanup."

Thirteen hundred Corps employees are on debris duty across Mississippi. Retherford estimates it will take up to a year and a half to finish the job.

The Corps employees are here from across the globe, some from as far away as Japan and Europe.