Hurricane Ian Recovery Update – “Debris”


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 31, 2022 | sundance 

In a previous update I noted the scale of debris cleanup ongoing as an outcome of Hurricane Ian.  Several people made inquiries wanting to better understand the overall magnitude.  So, I took some pictures today to share.

According to one of the debris contractor officials I incidentally bumped into, he shared how the debris cleanup was bid to the municipal regions using an actuarial formula from prior disaster recovery.  It’s a pretty interesting, albeit heartbreaking, formula and overall process to understand.

After a geographic region is identified, an interim helicopter flight by specifically trained experts in the industry of debris removal is conducted.  The general statistics applied to the contracts are for seven years’ worth of normal debris in the municipal region.

Meaning whatever tonnage is normally accumulated in municipal trash pickup over a year (garbage and recycling), that tonnage number is then multiplied by seven, and that’s the amount of debris anticipated during the initial hurricane debris removal.  Seven years’ worth of ‘trash’.

More pictures below to help understand.

♦DEBRIS – The scale of physical debris is jaw dropping.  FEMA reimburses local municipalities for the first 30 days of debris removal effort and costs.  The 30-day limit is intended as a financial incentive to kick municipalities into fast action.  This incentive is not a bad concept.  Factually, it’s one of the better FEMA legislative standards because it forces local government to act quickly.  However, the scale of what they are trying to do is just intense.

The various municipal governments in the severe impact zones appear to have a strategy to use the 30-day window to just collect as much as possible in interim geographic locations.  Large empty lots (example below) are being utilized as fast dumps for massive piles of debris in this 30-day window.  A claw truck can make a dozen fast runs (per day) locally to these interim dump sites, as opposed to driving long distances to landfills 30 to 50 miles away.

One of these 10-acre dump sites is less than a mile from me.  I do not know how many of these exist; however, to see a full ten acres piled high with 10 to 20′ of debris gives me a sense of the scale of damage in this one small area within a region that must have hundreds of these interim sites.  I have been to a dozen post-hurricane recovery areas and never seen debris like this.

Everything from destroyed construction material, to home furnishings, beds, appliances, parts of boats, roof parts, toys, patio furniture, pieces of cars, clothing, you name it, it’s all there.  All now defined under the term “debris.” However, each piece of debris representing the former life of a family impacted by this storm.  The trucks just keep coming, day and night 24/7.  [Logistics tower for one 10-acre collection site pictured below]

In the bigger picture, when you think about what is represented, it’s a sullen site to bear witness to… Any person of reasonable Christian disposition would just cry.  They have fenced off these interim dumping sites, and they have erected lights and temporary crane towers to seemingly assist the logistics of what goes where, but my God the scale of it is humbling.  This is just one site utilized for an area of what seems to be approximately 5 square miles.  Expand that scale to hundreds of similar 10-acre sites. Yeah, tears.

Eventually I assume these interim sites will be cleared one truckload at a time to the inner state landfills and recycle facilities. That phase will likely take years.

That’s a small snapshot.

Multiple those images times several thousand streets and similar areas.

Now you know what things look like.

Now you also know why Starfish Kid stays focused on the two feet in front of him…

…. If you look up for too long, the whispers of despair will try to get you.

Steadfast, with No Quit!

Love to all,

~ Sundance

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