Wellington: Clearing All Storm Debris Will Likely Take Months

Debris stacked for removal shortly after the storm.

During the Wellington Village Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Village Manager Paul Schofield and Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes discussed how Wellington is dealing with the massive amounts of Hurricane Irma debris.

Currently, all the refuse is being held near the Wellington Dog Park and is being ground up. “The web site will have estimated times. We’re about a quarter, maybe less, first pass for everything,” Schofield said. “We’re going to do three passes through every subdivision. If we miss it the first time, or you put it out, we will be back.”

Schofield asked residents to not put debris on major thoroughfares, as they are already clear.

“We’re going to get it just as fast in front of your house as we are if you put it on Forest Hill Blvd.,” he said. “But at this point, it looks like we’re going to be a couple of months, maybe two months, maybe a little bit longer, before we get it all out.”

Approximately 44,000 cubic yards of material have been collected as of Monday, Barnes said.

The canals, Schofield said, will take longer to have cleared.

By mid-October, the first pass is expected to be completed through the entire village for residential and common area debris. The first pass is strictly vegetation matter.

Residents are urged to keep household trash, vegetation matter and household debris separate.

Mixed piles, construction demolition and debris will be collected during the second pass.

Storm debris is categorized as vegetative debris, construction and demolition debris, household hazardous waste and bulk appliances, white goods, electronic waste and more. Only vegetative debris is being collected currently.

The Solid Waste Authority has suspended bulk pickup, and residents are asked not to put bulk pickup out until regular pickup has resumed.

Normal residential garbage collection has resumed, however, residents are asked not to put bagged trash or yard waste curbside. The timing of collection may vary due to increased volume.

Regular trash cannot be put in the green yard waste carts. Residents are asked to put green yard waste carts out early, the night before their regularly scheduled day.

The contractor is working seven days a week, Barnes said.

“We’re one of the few communities that’s actually doing non-hurricane work, as well,” Barnes said. “Such as the paving in Sugar Pond Manor and maintaining medians and everything else.”

It is estimated that there is between four and five years’ worth of normal debris to take care of, Barnes said. That is approximately 200,000 cubic yards at least.

Barnes thanked certain communities for centralizing the locations of their debris, noting that it makes the cleanup go faster.

Vice Mayor John McGovern thanked Barnes for being the point person for Irma debris recovery, as well as village staff for being so committed to making the cleanup happen.

Barnes credited village staff, noting that he has been dealing mostly with phone calls.

“You’ve been the person who has taken those calls and responded to them and set up a schedule,” McGovern said. “Thank you very much for that.”

Irma storm updates, including a list of tentative pickup dates for storm debris by neighborhood, has been posted to the village’s web site at www.wellingtonfl.gov. Click the banner at the top of the page for detailed information.