BR.sundaybarry.091519 HS 487.JPG

A driver navigates around barricades blocking tree debris on E. Washington Street near Carolina Street, Sunday, July 14, 2019, in Baton Rouge following Tropical Storm Barry in Louisiana.

A request to appropriate $1.6 million toward debris pick-up and disposal in East Baton Rouge Parish following Hurricane Barry will come before the Metro Council Wednesday night. 

The administration wants to earmark the money to pay two contractors for "debris disposal and monitoring" for an estimated 100,000-cubic yards of debris resulting from the last month's storm, according to the council's meeting agenda. 

Rick Speer, the city-parish's director of environmental services, said the contractors won't necessarily be paid $1.6 million to cart off falling limbs and trees. 

"They are working on a per cubic yard basis," Speer said in an interview before Wednesday night's meeting. "So they're only getting paid for what they pick up and dispose. They've already covered south Baton Rouge and picked up over 20,000 yards."

Barry mostly turned out to be a dry run for the region's emergency response services since it didn't pack the punch forecasters initially thought it would. 


Can't see video below? Click here.


In their initial survey of the debris through the parish, the city-parish estimates between 50,000 to 100,000 cubic yards of fallen limbs and woody waste from the storm needs to disposed of. Too much for the city-parish to handle, he said. 

"It would take us months and months to get it done," he said. "We decided to appropriate enough money for the higher debris estimate so we wouldn't have to come back to the Metro Council and ask for a change order if they picked up more than 50,000 cubic yards." 

The money to pay DRC Emergency Services, a disaster management and civil construction company, and Thomas Engineering, who Speer said is working in an oversight capacity of the clean-up efforts, is being allocated from the city-parish's Solid Waste Disposal Facility Fund.

Speer estimated it will take two weeks for the contractors to complete the work. There's a possibility the city-parish can seek reimbursement from the federal government for the funds, he said. 

The Metro Council's meeting Wednesday begins at 4 p.m.

Email Terry Jones at tjones@theadvocate.com