Back To Back Storms Slow Cleanup Efforts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/04/02

Back To Back Storms Slow Cleanup Efforts

Old furniture, soggy mattresses and tree limbs are piling up in many neighborhoods, as the Coast tries to clean-up after Hurricane Lili. But it's not just debris from the hurricane, that trash pick-up crews have to worry about. They're still trying to catch-up with the debris, left behind from Tropical Storm Isidore.

The back-to-back storms have employees working harder, and pulling longer hours. BFI employee Robert Leeper struggles with dead branches and other storm debris that have piled up along Gulfport neighborhoods.

"It's been pretty bad out there, a lot of furniture, debris, carpet, wet carpet, and a lot of tree limbs," Leeper said.

While some crews collect the smaller heaps of trash by hand, heavy equipment helps with the larger mounds. On a normal day, the workers pick-up about 15 tons of trash. Lately, they've been hauling-in up to 30-tons. All this extra work has employees putting in a lot of overtime.

"I've been working very long hours, about 15 hours a day," Leeper said.

"They're pretty much working from dark to dark, doing more than doubling their hours. We're trying to service every customer the best we can," Residential Supervisor Kevin Powell said.

All the hurricane debris comes at a time when crews are still trying to clear-away the trash Tropical Storm Isidore left behind.

"We were trying to get caught up when Hurricane Lili came through," Leeper said.

"Just bear with us. We're on top of it, running extra crews, trying to work extra hours on the weekends. We will have all this cleaned up, but it's going to take some time," Powell said.

Employees say it should take about two weeks to clear-away all the storm damage sitting along Coast streets. In the meantime, they have a special request from Mother Nature.

"Please, no more storms," Leeper said.

If you do have storm debris to get rid of, here's an important reminder. BFI crews won't pick-up any hazardous waste materials, or air conditioning and refrigerators that still contain freon.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

Check here for some important safety tips to remember when cleaning up storm debris.

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