Preparedness & Recovery

Hurricane Irma Left a Ton of Trash ... 14 Tons and Counting

Last year Hurricane Matthew generated 95,000 cubic yards of garbage and yard trash.

by Eliot Kleinberg, The Palm Beach Post, Fla. / September 14, 2017

(TNS) - In just two days following Hurricane Irma, authorities collected as much waste as they’d gathered in the full five days before the storm became a real threat, according to figures provided Thursday morning to The Palm Beach Post.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Solid Waste authority of Palm Beach County said it collected 14,203 tons of waste. From Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, before people began dealing with Irma, the authority collected 27,571 tons.

The two days following the storm were, in fact, nearly double even the elevated volume of pickups in the week before the storm. That was when people were trimming trees and policing yards for potential missiles. That total was 30,546, the authority said.

The new numbers are a hint of the heavy volume the authority, along with municipal governments and private trash agencies, expect to collect in the coming days.

The authority has resumed collection of garbage and recyclables, and soon will start yard pickups. The authority might not get to the yard trash on regular pickup days, so they urge people to get it to the curb now. The authority said it might be weeks before the first collection reaches everyone.

The authority also warned it will not reimburse customers who hire a private contractor to pick up trash.

People should put yard trash and construction debris in separate piles and keep those piles away from fences, mailboxes, power lines and their equipment, water meters, fire hydrants and storm drains.

The authority said last year that Hurricane Matthew in October generated 95,000 cubic yards of garbage and yard trash. The Matthew cleanup ended up costing the authority $1.2 million in emergency costs.


Pickups, in tons, of garbage, yard trash and bulk items by the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County before and after Hurricane Irma’s Sept. 10 landfall:

Monday-Friday, Aug. 28-Sept. 1 (5 days): 27,571

Monday-Friday. Sept. 4-8 (5 days): 30,546

Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 12-13 (2 days): 14,203

Source: Solid Waste Authority


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