The Atlantic hurricane season is over but the final stage of debris removal continues in parts of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Baker and Baton Rouge say that as this year's hurricane season wound down Monday, they were in the final stages of cleanup from Hurricane Delta. Central and Zachary say they've completed theirs. Delta came ashore Oct. 9 as a Category 2 storm.
DRC Emergency Services, an Alabama-based hurricane debris removal company that the city-parish contracted with, has collected 55,000 cubic yards of storm debris in the city-parish and is making a final pass to pick up any debris crews may have missed when they first went through a neighborhood, said Mark Armstrong, spokesman for Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
“There are inspectors that determine places that piles still exist in various neighborhoods that need to go get picked up,” Armstrong said. “(DRC) completed their first pass, so now they’re going through their ‘punch list,’ which is essentially picking up what was leftover.”
The neighborhoods of Southdowns, Mid City, Scotlandville and Kleinpeter are the last areas in the city-parish with remaining debris, Armstrong said.
Over 60,000 cubic yards of storm debris will be collected in the city-parish by the time the pickup is completed, Armstrong estimated.
After residents became impatient with the pace of the debris removal, flooding the city-parish’s 311 service with complaints about residual debris, Broome announced two weeks ago that additional crews, trucks and equipment would be brought in to finish the job. Republic Services, an Arizona-based company that handles the city-parish’s day-to-day waste collection, and the city-parish’s Maintenance Department, also joined the effort to collect the remaining debris, the mayor said.
The Baton Rouge area avoided the worst of the record-breaking hurricane season, which set the record for the most named storms in a season at 30.
Hurricane Laura was the strongest storm to hit the state of Louisiana in 164 years, making landfall Aug. 27 near Cameron as a Category 4 hurricane, and Hurricane Zeta became the first hurricane in 50 years to have its eye pass directly over New Orleans when it made landfall as a Category 2 storm Aug. 28.
DRC is also contracted with Central, Baker and Zachary for their Hurricane Delta debris removal.
“These guys have been doing contracts across the Gulf Coast since the beginning, so they went home for a few days for Thanksgiving,” Armstrong said. “That’s why they really pushed to get it all done that last week (before the holiday).”
Central completed its work Nov. 19 and collected just over 15,000 cubic yards of debris, Mayor David Barrow said. The pickup began Oct. 22 in the city.
“For a city of our size, 28 days, that’s less than a month to get the debris picked.” Barrow said. “I think they did a very good job.”
Baker Mayor Darnell Waites said the city’s debris removal took “a little bit longer than we thought” but is on the verge of completion, if not already completed. The city did not have an estimate of how much debris has been collected.
The city of Zachary was the first in the parish to be done, finishing its debris removal roughly a week after Hurricane Delta swept through the area, Mayor David Amrhein said. The city used Boudreaux Trucking, which already contracts with the city for a bulk waste collection service.
The city didn’t have an estimate for the amount of debris collected, but Amrhein said “we just didn’t have very much so it didn’t take long.”