IRMA: One month after storm, 9 percent of storm debris picked up in Manatee County

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 6:22 PM EDT

Like many other counties throughout Florida, Manatee County is struggling to get debris clean-up following Hurricane Irma completed.

  • Close to 105,000 cubic yards of debris collected in past month
  • No timetable for when clean-up will be complete
  • Expected cost of clean-up could still rise

Piles of tree limbs and dead leaves are a common sight on almost every street in Manatee County.
"Everywhere there are big piles of debris still, and we don't know when it's gonna be picked up," said resident Missy Jones.

Many Manatee County residents share Jones's frustration. A spokesperson for the county's utilities department says close to 105,000 cubic yards of debris have been picked up since Hurricane Irma made landfall a month ago, but that's less than 10 percent of what's out sitting on curbs across the county.

A massive tree came crashing through Jarred Foster's roof when Irma hit. He said it was cleaned up the next day, but the tree trunk and limbs have been sitting outside of his house since, affecting the postal service's ability to get to the mailbox.
"We're trying to get back to normal, trying to go back to our days and our regular normal life, and sitting here is a reminder of what we went through and we just want it out of here,' he said.

The county released an interactive map on Wednesday showing where debris cleanup crews are currently working and where they are headed to next. The zones outlined are large, and it could take weeks to make it through each of the zones.

While there's no time line of when the cleanup will be completed, the county has more trucks on the road. On Monday, they had 37 crews out picking up debris, and had 41 on Tuesday.

They're expecting to have even more in the coming days.

The expected cost of cleanup was initially around $27 million. Last week, county commissioners approved cleanup on private roads, which could increase the cost to more than $30 million.

FEMA is expected to help with the costs.